When you are considering whether a Lottery Win is including in your property settlement with your spouse or de facto, timing is important.
Part of the function of the Court in deciding how to distribute the assets of a relationship is to determine the net assets and liabilities and the financial and non-financial contributions of each of the parties.
Whether a lottery win is included in the assets of a marriage will depend upon many factors.
If the parties had not yet separated and you used joint funds to purchase the ticket prior to separation then in all likelihood the winnings will be classified as an equal contribution by each of the parties. It will be added into the net assets even if it is relatively close to separation.
A past case from the Family Court determined that a 3 million dollar lottery win 12 months prior to separation was an asset of the relationship and that the parties had contributed equally to the winning. The party purchased the ticket with joint funds, the couple were pooling their money to meet joint expenses and they acted in a way that suggested that they were in a relationship.
If you win the Lottery after separation and you have not yet agreed to a family law property settlement then you must still disclose the win to the other party as part of your obligations under the law. If you used your own money and you are no longer pooling your money to meet joint expenses then it may not be included as an asset of the relationship and it will be considered a contribution solely by you.
If reconciliation is not an option, it is important to come to agreement on all property matters between you as soon as possible after separation in order to protect you against any windfalls that may come your way.
If you need assistance with Family Law Property Matters, call Michelle Meares now on 4324 7699.