Everyone's a Winner!!
X-Lotto wins after separation: everyone's a winner!
In a case decided by the Family Court about 18 months ago, the Family Court was asked to rule on whether a large x-lotto win of $6 million by the wife, 6 months after the parties had separated, but before any final settlement had been agreed should be available to be divided between the parties.
The Court stated that the answer to this question will normally depend on the circumstances of the relationship when the ticket was purchased.
The husband argued that he had made a contribution towards the purchase price of the ticket because both parties had continued to withdraw funds from a joint account for their own purposes and it was the wife’s share of those funds from which she purchased the ticket. The wife denied that the husband made any contribution towards the purchase price of the ticket or that he should be entitled to any of the winnings. The Court agreed with the wife.
However, as a consequence of the husband having greater financial needs following separation from the wife, an order was made that $500,000 be paid by the wife to the husband.
Other cases have ruled that any windfall obtained by one party during the marriage such as a x-lotto winning, should be included in the assets to be divided between the parties.
Had the parties agreed on a settlement and a Court Order been made finalising their property settlement before the x-lotto win by the wife, the husband would have had no claim over the winnings.
The case above should serve as a reminder to those people who have separated from their spouses or partners that formalising property settlements quickly may be wise (unless of course, your former spouse wins the lotto and not you!).