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Settlement claim lodged long after the divorce

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Homeowners in the Greater Manchester area who are acquainted with green energy companies may be interested to learn that the founder of Ecotricity has been forced to pay a settlement of £300,000 to the woman he divorced more than two decades ago. He had objected to the case being brought to the courts on the grounds that too much time had passed for her to make any claims for financial remedy, but his appeal was rejected. 

The entrepreneur businessman met his former wife when they were students and the couple married in 1981. They lived an unorthodox lifestyle as New Age travelers until they separated a few years later and divorced in 1992. He said that allowing his ex-wife to make a claim based on a short relationship so long ago could set a precedent to many other divorced couples in a similar situation. The green energy company that he launched a few years after his divorce is now estimated to be worth over £100 million. 

His former spouse started legal actions in 2011 and was given permission to file for financial remedy by the Supreme Court in 2015. Her initial claim had been for almost £2 million, but the judge dismissed that as being far too excessive. In High Court she was awarded £300,000 by a judge who said that, in view of the exceptional circumstances surrounding the case, she deserved a financial settlement and that this amount represented a fair award.

During divorce proceedings, a family court will consider the possibility of creating a clean financial break between the former couple in situations where the means are available for this to be practical. A person who is involved in a dispute over the division of marital property may find it worthwhile to consult with an experienced family law solicitor for advice on the matter.