In Arborfield, SK, David Thompson and Berta Haley had been living together for several years when she discovered a winning Lotto 6/49 ticket in her purse. When she discovered the lottery win was worth $2.1-million, she dumped Thompson and moved out of their home.
Needless to say, Thompson wasn’t going to take this lying down, and a legal battle commenced over who was entitled to the winnings (the lottery corporation had put the money into a court-monitored account until the dispute was resolved). In deciding who was going to get the loot, the Saskatchewan Court considered three questions:
1. Who bought the ticket in the first place?
2. Did Thompson and Haley have an ongoing agreement to share any lottery winnings?
3. Were Thompson and Haley common-law spouses?
The court discovered that both Thompson and Haley regularly bought Lotto 6/49 tickets, depending on who had spare cash at the time, and that they did have an agreement to share any winnings.
The court also decided that their relationship fit the criteria for the definition “common-law spouse” — in Saskatchewan, this means three years of cohabitation, or a relationship of some permanence and a child.
The court then ruled that Thompson was entitled to half — $1.08-million — of his common-law wife’s jackpot. Perhaps this could be called a “win-win situation” — although probably not by Haley.
On the other end of the scale is Kerry Simpson, a barmaid in Britain whose ex-hubby Andrew won more than £4.3 million in the lottery on July 22, 1000 — the day after their divorce was final. Andrew is sharing his windfall with his new lover, Anita McGovern, with plans for a big house and an even bigger wedding. The shell-shocked Kerry, needless to say, has earned the dubious achievement of being the unluckiest woman in the UK.
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