You would hope that divorce ended all ties with your ex but the reality is that it does not. So imagine winning the lottery a year, two years or even 10 years after your divorce. Would this entitle your ex from making a claim on your winnings? The answer is yes it would.
This was evidenced in a case where it was reported that the wife after 20 years of divorce succeeded in a case for financial relief against her ex-husband. The pair were childhood sweethearts and married but then divorced very young. In fact, they had married in 1980 and separated in 1982 and were divorced by 1992. The ex-husband then long after their divorce became a successful millionaire businessman. He began founding Ecotricity from his trailer when he made a wind turbine from recycled materials. From these humble beginnings came a multi-million company, which now supplies energy to more than 100,000 customers and is worth at least £57million.
The ex-wife did not make a claim until more than 25 years after they had separated and nearly 20 years after their divorce.
Astonishingly, despite the delay in bringing a claim, the fact that the parties had divorced and the fact that the ex-husband became a successful millionaire businessman long after the divorce, five Supreme Court justices ruled that the ex-wife’s claim should proceed and was successful.
This striking ruling underlines the fact there is no time limit for ex-spouses to apply to a court for a financial settlement following a divorce however weak their claim may be. Unlike other claims such as breach of contract or personal injury, it seems that claims for matrimonial financial relief can be made decades after the divorce itself.
In summary, at the same time of obtaining a divorce, whether or not you have any assets or finances at that time, it is advised to finalise financial claims by obtaining a court order.
If you are concerned and wish to discuss your circumstances, please do not hesitate in contacting our family law specialists, on 0121-702-1580 who would be happy to assist.