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Lotto Wins

Jan 5, 2018

Carr & Co

William Carr
By Mr William Carr – Managing Director.

The recent large prize pools offered in Australian Saturday Lotto ($30 million), OZ Lotto ($40 million) and Powerball ($35 million) bring into question how the Family Court deals with Lotto wins in property proceedings.

There have been a number of lottery cases heard in the Court and the following principles now apply:

  1. Lotto wins are property for the purposes of Family Court proceedings and can be divided between parties.
  2. If the winning ticket is purchased before separation and the parties are otherwise pooling their assets and each contributing financially and domestically, the Court will probably regard the contribution as a joint one.
  3. The person who purchases the winning ticket is generally regarded as the contributor of the Lotto prize.
  4. Notwithstanding this, an adjustment may be made to the financially inferior party from Lotto winnings to lead to a just and equitable outcome in the case.
  5. It is possible for a spouse to make a claim against a Lotto prize won some years after separation.

If a Lotto win forms part of the property pool, the Family Court will look at the following questions:

  • Were the parties living together when the ticket was purchased?
  • Were the parties pooling their funds when the ticket was purchased?
  • Who provided the monies for the winning ticket (if there was no joint account)?
  • When was the Lotto prize won (i.e. before, during or after the relationship)?

If you have a query about potential claims against Lotto winnings, windfalls, inheritances, damages, compensation payments or other lump sums, then you should contact one of our family lawyers on 9322 8000.