Lottery Winnings- Is Your Spouse Entitled to Your Lottery Winnings
At one point or another, everyone has thought about the possibility of winning the lottery. But what happens to the lottery winnings if you are currently in a marriage?
The case of Elford & Elford, the court heard an appeal in relation to property settlement at the end of a relationship. In this case, Mr. Elford has won approximately $622,000 in the first 12 months of the couple’s marriage. After placing the money into an interest earning account, the amount totalled over $1,000,000.00 at the time of separation. The Wife argued that the money should be considered as ‘joint’, as the contribution was made during the course of the marriage. The court dismissed the Wife’s appeal and held that Mr. Elford was solely responsible for the financial contribution.
Why Would the Lottery Winnings Not Be Split?
The unique, and perhaps predominant feature of this case, was that the couple throughout the course of the marriage had kept their financial assets separate. The Husband’s accounts were used to pay expenses associated with property and utilities and the Wife’s accounts were used to pay for expenses relating to the three children (to a previous marriage) and groceries. The couple did not have a joint bank account. Some additional factors the Court considered included:
- Elford was responsible for purchasing the ticket;
- Elford chose the winning numbers himself;
- The winning ticket was assigned to Mr. Elford’s name only’ and
- The winnings were placed in the personal account of Mr. Elford.
Although this case featured very distinctive features which allowed the Court to view the winnings as the financial contribution of only one party, it does show how assets can be treated in property settlements.