won £500,000 in the National Lottery and his ex-husband, a hotel
porter, got £85,000 in the High Court because she used some of the money
to buy a family home.
The prize was “non-matrimonial property”, Judge Mostyn said.
But the woman converted part of her non-matrimonial assets into matrimonial property the moment she used some of it to buy a house.
Following divorce by a judge in England, his decision is thought to be the first ruling on a lottery prize.
After a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, the judge announced his decision.
By order of the judge the couple’s identities were not disclosed.
The porter was not entitled to “anything like” an equal
share of its value because he had actually lived in the house for a
relatively short period.
According to Justice Mostyn’s written ruling, he had to
consider the treatment to be awarded to a lottery prize of £500,000 in
financial remedy proceedings following divorce.
He had no knowledge of any similar decisions made in English courts,
although there have been at least five reported decisions on the subject
in Australia of a dispute over a lottery win.
The couple had separated several years ago after the wife had won the £500,000.
The London property was worth £275,000 and the woman used
the cash to buy it. Now the property is worth nearly £500,000.
Where a husband or wife was unilaterally buying tickets from
his or her own income, without the knowledge of their partner, then it
was easy to see the prize as a receipt by that party alone and therefore
as non-matrimonial property, according to Justice Mostyn.
However when she bought the house, she had made part of it into matrimonial property.
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