Eufrosin & Eufrosin – Does a $6 million Lottery Win form part of the Property Pool?

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Case note on Eufrosin & Eufrosin

A recent decision of the Full Court of the Family Court of Eufrosin & Eufrosin [1] (“Eufrosin”) considered whether the ex-husband should be entitled to a $6 million lottery win in the family law property pool. This case has received media attention.[2]

Relevant Facts

In Eufrosin, the wife and the husband were married for approximately 20 years, and separated in or about July 2008. Prior to the marriage, the wife began purchasing lottery tickets during the early 1980’s.

In early 2009, approximately 6 months after separation, the wife purchased a lottery ticket, which resulted in her winning $6 million in prize money.

The husband contended that his contributions throughout the marriage should entitle him to an entitlement of the lottery prize money. This included the wife using funds from the family business to purchase the lottery tickets.

Primary Court’s Findings

The Court at first instance rejected the husband’s submissions, and held that the source of funds should not determine the issue.

The property pool was divided into two pools:

  1. Pool 1 consisted of assets, liabilities and financial resources which existed as at the parties’ separation; and
  1. Pool 2 consisted of the assets, liabilities and financial resources which were sourced from the wife’s $6 million lottery win.

This decision was appealed to the Full Court.

Appeal Court Findings

The decision in Eufrosin was contrasted to the decision in Anastasio and Anastasio,[3] where the winning lottery ticket was purchased during the relationship, and therefore regarded as a matrimonial asset.

The decision is summarised in the reasons of Justices Thackray, Murphy and Aldridge on appeal as follows:

“At the time the wife purchased the ticket, regardless of the source of the funds, the ‘joint endeavour’ that had been the parties’ marriage had dissolved; there was no longer a ‘common use’ of property. Rather, the parties were applying funds for their respective individual purposes.”

In a further unfortunate turn of events for the husband, the wholly unsuccessful appeal resulted in the Court exercising their discretion to depart from the long-standing principle that “each party bears their own costs”.

The husband was ordered to pay the wife’s costs of and incidental to the appeal.

Do you have more questions on what goes into a property pool? Contact us

It is clear that property settlement matters can be very complex. Please contact our Business Development Officers on (07) 3252 0011 to arrange an appointment with one of our experienced Family Lawyers about the particular circumstances of your matter today.

[1]  [2013] FamCA 311 – Family Court; [2014] FamCAFC 191 – Appeal before the Full Family Court.

[2] http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/exhusband-loses-bid-to-claim-share-of-wifes-6m-lottery-win/story-fni0fee2-1227090228518; http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/husband-loses-legal-bid-for-share-of-exwifes-6m-lottery-win/story-e6frg6nf-1227089341487

[3] (1981) FLC 91-093.