Wife wins six million dollars after separation
Posted: 24th October 2013
Posted in: News
Posted by: Dean Evans, Partner
In a recent case the Family Court considered a property adjustment application relating to a twenty year relationship where the wife had won $6 million on lotto 6 months after separation. But for the funds from the gambling win, the matrimonial pool available for division between the parties had a net value of approximately $2 million.
The wife was receiving income through a family company of approximately $2,000 per month. The wife would also usually receive funds from her sister of approximately $20-$50 per week to go towards lottery tickets. Following the wife’s win, she gave her sister one million dollars.
The wife argued that the lotto winnings should be considered a separate pool and that the husband had not made any contribution to that windfall. She argued that as there were sufficient assets from which to make Orders, the lottery winnings did not need to be considered as part of the pool available for division between the parties.
The husband argued that a single pool approach was appropriate and the lottery winnings should be included as part of the pool of property available for division as the funds came from “joint funds” being the funds paid to the wife from a family company of approximately $2,000 per month. He also argued that the $1 million gifted to the wife’s sister should be added back notionally.
It was held by His Honour that the assets of the parties fell into two separate categories.
Firstly, the assets accrued during the twenty year relationship.
Secondly, the assets which came about after separation, namely the wife’s gambling win.
His Honour considered it appropriate to adopt a two pool approach as asserted by the wife. The first pool consisted of assets accumulated prior to separation and the second pool consisted of assets derived from the wife’s gambling win.
His Honour did not accept that the wife made a gift of $1 million to her sister and considered that the gambling ticket had been purchased in the sister’s name with money partly provided by her and the prize money was deposited into the sister’s account. His Honour was satisfied that the wife and sister jointly formed an intention to purchase gambling tickets on a weekly basis and he would not add back the $1 million the sister received from gambling prize money. It was impossible to identify the precise source of the funds used by the wife to purchase the ticket. His Honour found that the husband made no contribution to the money with which the wife purchased the gambling ticket.
The parties’ assets as accumulated prior to separation were split equally with an adjustment of an additional $500,000 to the husband for future needs factors. The husband was 62 and had a limited future working life.