X-Lotto Winnings – “Will I be able to keep them?”
In a recent decision a very lucky lady was able to keep her $6 million winnings that she won six months after separating from her husband. Her husband had tried to argue that because she had used money from their joint bank account, the winnings should be included in the property pool. The trial Judge decided that because the husband and the wife both withdrew funds from a joint account and used those funds for individual purposes that they were ‘wholly unconnected with the former marital relationship’. The Full Court placed significance on the nature of the parties’ relationship at the time that the lottery ticket was purchased and found that as they were leading separate lives and separate financial lives, there was no longer a ‘common use’ of the bank account. The lucky wife was allowed to keep her $6 million and the husband was ordered to pay her legal costs.
Notwithstanding this recent decision, the well established Family Law property settlement principle that the Court will take into account all the assets owned by the parties at the date of trial still stands.