The expression “windfalls” generally applies to lottery winnings or the acquisition of money or property or increase in value of property by chance. For example, lottery or gambling winnings or rezoning of real property that results in substantive gain in the value of that property.

How the Court deals with windfalls depends on how the windfall was acquired. By way of example, in the case of Zyk [1995] 19 FamLR 797 where the husband, who purchased a winning lottery ticket during cohabitation was found by the court to be less than supportive of the family during the marriage, and held that the ticket had been bought through joint funds and that being the case:

The contribution of the prize will be seen as a contribution by the parties equally”.

The Court went on to say that that approach would not necessarily apply in every case but depend on many factors including whether the windfall occurred before or after the relationship commenced or ended and the circumstances of each particular case.

In a more recent decision of Eufrosin [2014] FamCAFC, the wife purchased a winning ticket six months after separation from funds of a business in which the husband had had some involvement. In that case, the Full Court said:

At the time the wife purchased the ticket some six months after separation, the parties had commenced the process of leading separate lives, including separate financial lives”.