Do I have to share my lotto winnings with my partner if we separate?

In a recent Full Court decision, the husband was allowed to retain the substantial lottery winnings that he had won 12 months into the parties’ decade long relationship (Elford & Elford [2016] FamCAFC 45).  Read our post to find out more. 

In this case, the husband chose the winning lotto numbers, purchased the lotto ticket and deposited the winnings into a term deposit account in his sole name.  The funds remained in an account in the husband’s sole name during the parties’ relationship.

 

On appeal to the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia, the wife argued that the trial judge incorrectly treated the husband’s lottery win as a special contribution and failed to assess contributions as a whole.  

 

The wife thought she had contributed to the husband’s lotto win because they were in a relationship at the time the lotto ticket was purchased.  However, the wife admitted in evidence that:

 

- she did not pick the winning numbers;

- the husband had picked the same numbers he had picked since 1995;

- she did not contribute financially to the purchase of the ticket;

- the ticket was registered in the husband’s sole name; and

- the husband deposited the funds into an account in his sole name.

 

Significantly in this case, the husband and wife largely kept their assets and finances separate. The husband and wife never held joint bank accounts.  

 

Based on the evidence, the trial judge found that the wife did not contribute to the husband’s lottery win.  The trial judge’s decision was upheld and the wife’s appeal was dismissed.

  

If you need assistance negotiating and finalising your property settlement, contact Applecross Family Lawyers on (08) 9364 9915 or 0474 458 340.

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