Family law: Sharing major lottery winnings with a former spouse

On behalf of Peterson Stark Scott posted in Family Law on September 5, 2019.

Hitting the lottery jackpot would make most people jump up and down for joy. But the delight might be short-lived for divorced British Columbia residents who get a windfall if they have to share the winnings with a former spouse. These are the types of issues that fall under the provincial family law umbrella, but they’re not always so cut and dried.

Much might hinge on where in the divorce process the couple is at the time one had the fortune of winning the lottery. A lot depends upon a couple’s unique circumstances whether a major lottery winning would have to be shared. In most parts of Canada, the sharing of lottery winnings when a couple is either separated or divorced is unlikely to be ordered by a court. But estranged or divorced couples have still fought over it.

For instance in 2008, a man purchased a lottery ticket that won $1 million. He and his wife had divorced in 1997, but continued to live together as a couple. Long story short, the woman checked the ticket and hid the winnings from her partner to whom she ended up giving $300,000. But the husband wanted more and ultimately the court ordered the woman to pay him another $200,000, so in effect, they shared the winnings.

These types of family law issues can be confusing. A British Columbia lawyer is likely the best person from whom to seek answers to perplexing family law questions. A lawyer may be able to offer guidance and advice after reviewing a client’s particular situation.

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