Sunday 25 February 2018

Ex husband wins a chunk of wife’s lottery win

Brian Farmer

A hotel porter won a chunk of his ex-wife's £500,000 National Lottery windfall after a High Court fight - because she had used some of the money to buy a family home.

Judge Mr Justice Mostyn concluded that the prize was "non-matrimonial property" but when the woman used some of it to buy a house she converted "part of her non-matrimonial assets into matrimonial property".

He said he thought that his decision was the first ruling on the treatment of a lottery prize "in financial remedy proceedings following divorce" by a judge in England.

The judge, who announced his decision after a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, ruled that the porter should get a "lump sum" of £85,000.

He said the porter had "actually lived" in the house for a "relatively short period" and was not entitled to "anything like" an equal share of its value.

The judge said neither the porter nor his ex-wife could be identified.

"In this case I (had) to consider the treatment to be awarded to a lottery prize of £500,000 in financial remedy proceedings following divorce," said Mr Justice Mostyn, in a written ruling.

"There have been at least five reported decisions on the subject in Australia. To my knowledge there has been no reported decision on the subject here."

He said the couple, both in their 50s, were married more than 25 years ago and separated several years ago.

The wife collected a £500,000 lottery prize more than a decade ago and bought a £275,000 house in London, which was now thought to be worth nearly £500,000. The couple lived in the house for about three years, the court heard.

Mr Justice Mostyn said 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".

"I judge the initial receipt of the lottery prize to be non-matrimonial property," said Mr Justice Mostyn. "However, when (the woman) purchased (the house) she converted that part of her non-matrimonial assets into matrimonial property."

He added: "Given that the source of this matrimonial property was not joint endeavour but rather non-matrimonial property of (the woman's) and given the relatively short period (the porter) actually lived in (the house), I do not believe that (he) is entitled to an equal sharing of it, or anything like it."

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