Partner and Head of Family
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Peter Woolf ponders legal issues in soaps and the division of lottery winnings
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
Television programmes can, occasionally, address interesting legal issues. I watched a programme last week in which the wife won the lottery after she had separated from her husband. Apparently (in the programme) the wife took
advice from a Solicitor who confirmed that it was not a matrimonial asset and not therefore claimable by the husband. Surprise surprise, apparently the husband received differing advice. So what is the true position?
Plainly, in reality, the wife's winning of the lottery is not a true "matrimonial" asset because it has been won by the wife after she has separated from the husband and not whilst they have been living together in marriage.
However the Court is likely to have regard to the wife's winning of the lottery if, without it, neither husband nor wife's "reasonable needs" could be met but if, with the lottery monies, both husband and wife's "reasonable needs" could be met. Almost certainly,
the husband's claim upon the wife's lottery win would be reduced to such amount as is needed by him to enable him to meet his "reasonable needs" leaving the wife with the major part.
If the wife had still been living with the husband when she won the lottery then the husband's claim would have been substantially greater. However, even then, I do not consider that the husband would have been entitled to the same share as the wife. The
wife would have been entitled to a greater share than the husband (having regard to the exceptional circumstances of her receipt of monies during the marriage).
To discuss how we can provide further advice in connection with these issues, please contact Peter Woolf, Partner and head of our Family department, by email to
firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively you can call Peter on 0161 833 9211.
The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. No responsibility for article's accuracy or correctness is assumed by Berg or any of its
partners or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of the contents of this article.