Q: I’ve recently seen in the news that the wife in the Vince v Wyatt case received a sum of £300,000 despite being divorced for many years and separated even longer. I was divorced from my wife over 10 years ago. Does that mean that she can still ask me for more money?

A: This is partly true. Ms Wyatt and Mr Vince were married in 1981, separated in 1984, and divorced in 1992. They had a son. Mr Vince then became a multi millionaire. Because they had not dealt with their finances when or before they divorced, and there was no financial settlement, this did leave the ‘door open’ for Ms Wyatt to seek a financial order. The case went to the Supreme Court in 2015, who accepted that there Ms Wyatt had the right to bring a claim, and the matter was then listed back at the High Court to consider the amount and level of financial order. In fact, the parties then were able to negotiate a settlement, and a consent order has finally been agreed, with the payment of £300,000 to Ms Wyatt, together with a payment towards her legal costs. There were also some additional issues around publicity of the case, and privacy issues.

It is a highly unusual case, and the couple’s circumstances were taken into account by the Supreme Court, including the level of support that Ms Wyatt had received from Mr Vince for the couple’s son.

If you did not negotiate a consent order or receive a financial order from the court around the time of your divorce, yes, it is possible that your wife could reopen her claims (as could you) and it is probably worth you taking some legal advice about this. It will depend on all sort of things, including any children of the marriage, length of marriage, contributions (both financial and non financial) to the marriage, health, age, and circumstances, as well as what happened at separation and/or divorce with your assets and debts, as to whether there is still a claim, and the level of what that claim might be.

Q: I was recently divorced and one of my friends has told me I need to do a new Will. But we sorted our finances out amicably, so surely this is not correct?

Your friend is partly right, I’m afraid. Marriage automatically revokes a previously drafted and executed Will (The only exception to the above is if you have written your Will in contemplation of your marriage.), and likewise, so does Divorce, or at least it revokes any gift to your former spouse. Whilst this is often what you may want, it may not be so in every case. An appointment of the former spouse as executor is also automatically cancelled. This could leave the Will without executors if the former spouse was sole executor or with too few executors if the former spouse was one of two executors and the situation is one where more than one executor is needed. This could cause extra complications following death.

Your Will should always be reviewed following a life-changing event such as marriage, having children or divorce, and if in doubt you should seek legal advice or advice from a qualified Will writer. It is just not worth leaving such things to chance.