In Elford & Elford  Fam CAFC 45 (29 March 2016) the Family Court of Australia addressed the issue of whether lottery winnings received by one spouse during the relationship become a joint contribution by both parties.
The facts of the case were as follows:
- Relationship of 9 years in length;
- No children to the marriage though the Wife’s children from a previous relationship lived with the parties; and
- The Husband’s future needs exceeded those of the Wife as he had considerable health issues and was significantly older than the wife.
Furthermore, the Husband had used the same lottery ticket numbers since 1995 and had purchased the ticket without the Wife’s assistance or contribution. Once the winnings of $622,842.00 were received, the funds were deposited into the Husband’s sole account and treated as his own.
The trial judge held the lottery winnings was a contribution by the Husband and made orders for the Wife to receive a total of $51,000.00 from the matrimonial asset pool, resulting in a 90/10 property distribution in favour of the Husband. The Wife appealed arguing the winnings should be treated as a joint contribution purely on the basis that the parties were in a relationship when the funds were received. The Full Court disallowed the appeal rejecting the wife’s argument.
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