Lottery Win

The case of S v AG (Financial Remedy: Lottery Prize) [2011] EWHC 2637 (Fam) was the first case to decide the status of a National Lottery win. In this case the wife played the National Lottery and won £500,0000.She played the lottery from her own earnings and without the husband’s knowledge. She used part of the win to buy the former matrimonial home.

Mr. Justice Mostyon stated that

“If the spouses were operating a syndicate then the prize would be equally shared, if however the ticket was bought unilaterally by one spouse without the authority of the other,that made the win closer to an unexpected inheritance”.

The wife was unilaterally playing the lottery, without her husband’s knowledge, and bought the tickets from her own earned income. However, when she purchased the new family home with her winnings, she converted that part of her non-matrimonial assets into matrimonial property.

As the source of the purchase of the home was non-matrimonial property i.e. the lottery win, given the relatively short period in which he actually lived in the house, the judge awarded a 15 – 20% share as being fair.

If you play the lottery regularly with your spouse it appears that you will probably split any prize money relatively equally. If you play alone and use your own cash to buy the tickets then only money which you convert into matrimonial assets, such as to buy a family home will likely be subject to division after a divorce.

If you are separated at the time that the winning ticket was purchased the person who purchased the ticket would be legally entitled to most if not all the prize money.

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