I have won the lottery: do I have to share the winnings?

There are many examples of one party winning the lottery in his or her sole name having purchased the ticket with or without the knowledge of the other party.

How does the court treat the winnings?

The court was asked to look at this situation in a case where the husband won $95,000 in a lottery 2 years into an 8 year marriage.

The husband had been involved in the same lottery syndicate for some years prior to the marriage and the wife had no involvement in the purchase of the winning ticket.

The trial judge dealt with the lottery win as a contribution on the part of the husband.

The wife appealed the decision and the Full Court reversed the finding on the basis that the lottery win should have been treated as a joint contribution.  The basis for the decision in effect arose because the court considered the fact that in most marriage each party works and derives an income that is to be treated as a joint income.  The lottery ticket was considered to have been purchased from joint income.

Alternate approach?

Consider circumstances in which the parties have so regulated their affairs that they have agreed that their income will not form part of the joint asset pool.

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