Wind farm tycoon Dale Vince awaits post-divorce payout ruling

Dale Vince
Image caption Dale Vince has opposed Ms Wyatt's financial settlement claim on the grounds she had filed it too late

A wind power tycoon will learn whether his ex-wife's claim for a financial settlement lodged almost 20 years after they divorced has been successful.

Dale Vince's first wife Kathleen Wyatt launched her bid for a payout after he went on to become a multimillionaire.

A judge initially said her claim should be considered, but his ruling was later overturned on appeal. Ms Wyatt has since contested the decision.

Five Supreme Court justices are due to deliver their verdict later.

Judges were previously told the couple had met as students in their early 20s and married in 1981.

'Clarification needed'

The pair had a son and lived a New Age traveller lifestyle before they separated in the mid-1980s and divorced in 1992.

Ms Wyatt lived on benefits while Mr Vince lived in an old ambulance.

In 1995 Mr Vince launched green energy firm Ecotricity in Stroud, Gloucestershire, using a wind turbine he had made from recycled materials to power his caravan.

Ms Wyatt lodged her claim for "financial remedy" in 2011.

Justices heard that Ms Wyatt had lived in Lowestoft, Suffolk, Sunderland and the Forest of Dean. Mr Vince had lived in Bath.

Deputy High Court judge Nicholas Francis gave Ms Wyatt's claim the green light in 2012, but it was blocked at the Appeal Court in 2013 after Mr Vince complained it had been lodged too late.

There is currently no time limit on financial settlements in divorce cases.

Charmaine Hast, a senior family lawyer at law firm Wedlake Bell, said the case could establish guidelines on wealth acquired post-divorce for the first time.

"If the court does not entertain Ms Wyatt's case, it will be intriguing to see whether they lay down a reasonable time limit in bringing such a claim," she said.

"There is no such guidance in statute or case law on this at the moment and such a situation demands clarification."

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