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But I’m divorced aren’t I?


Article date:  12/08/2013

A leading divorce lawyer says that a recent Court of Appeal case has lessons for people across England, particularly those who may be considering or involved in a DIY divorce.

Sarah Martin, a lawyer in Higgs & Sons' family team says that the case of Vince v Wyatt gave national press coverage to a very common issue arising in divorce cases.

"In this case, the parties were married in 1984 and subsequently divorced in 1992 after having one child," explains Sarah.

"At the time of their marriage they were new age travellers living a nomadic lifestyle with no money. Following their divorce the husband went on to establish Ecotricity, one of Britain's biggest green energy companies, and subsequently became a multi-millionaire.

"At the time of their divorce the parties failed to secure an order finalising their financial claims and following the husband's significant commercial success, and fifteen years after their divorce, the wife brought a claim against him for £2 million plus an application for £125,000 in respect of her legal costs."

Sarah says that a common misconception is that once the divorce is finalised, the parties' financial claims are automatically brought to an end.

"This case serves as a timely reminder that it's just not that simple," explains Sarah.

"This issue is of increasing significance with the rise in the number of DIY divorces. Often people come to an agreement between themselves regarding financial matters and assume that once the divorce is finalised, no further action is required. People need to be aware that these agreements are not binding - people can change their minds particularly if someone's financial circumstances change significantly."

Sarah says that these difficulties and the distress such issues can bring can be avoided by parties ensuring that they secure an order in the divorce proceedings finalising their financial claims.

"Utilising the services of a specialist family lawyer can enable the parties to understand the steps and how they navigate this process, getting the right information and documentation before the court and securing the necessary court order without the need for anyone to attend court."

"With the right advice, this is usually not a difficult or costly process. However, the peace of mind and protection that can be provided is invaluable."

Higgs & Sons works from two offices in the Black Country - Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill and Kingswinford. The firm employs more than 200 people, which includes over 100 specialist lawyers.

To find out more, contact Sarah Martin, Associate solicitor in the family department at Higgs & Sons on 0845 111 5050 or e-mail

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