It has been reported that a hotel porter has won a chunk of his ex-wife's £500,000 National Lottery win after a High Court fight.
According to the Daily Mail, Justice Mostyn concluded that the prize was 'non-matrimonial property' but when the wife used some of it to buy a house she converted 'part of her non-matrimonial assets into matrimonial property'. This decision is the first case concerning the treatment of a lottery win 'in financial remedy proceedings following divorce' by a judge in England.
Any money built up during a marriage is normally considered a joint asset. It should be noted that the husband was not awarded half of the winnings. The particular circumstances led the judge to award the husband a lump sum of £85,000. There is a suggestion that the outcome is unfair as it will encourage husbands and wives to try and keep their own wealth separate from joint funds to avoid their spouse receiving an equal share.
Most cases will still be determined by the needs of the parties. It remains of crucial importance to ensure a consent order is drawn up recording the terms of any financial agreement reached between spouses. The absence of a consent order could result in a spouse receiving a share of any future lottery winnings.
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