Coronation Street character Sally Webster will reportedly decide to delay her divorce to Husband Kevin after she discovers he has won the lottery.
Kevin will win £250,000 on a lottery scratch card and decides not to tell Sally about his windfall until after their divorce is finalised and a financial settlement negotiated.
While soaps are often a distorted picture of reality, this storyline sends warning bells. It highlights the importance of ensuring that once a couple separate, they formalise any agreement they have reached in respect of financial matters in a “Consent Order”.
In Corrie, Sally is at the solicitor’s office about to sign the relevant paperwork when Tyrone allegedly bursts in and shouts, "Sally...stop! Don't sign anything. Kev's won loads of cash on the lottery and not told you about it."
Sally tears up the document saying "You can forget about this old rubbish. I want a new financial settlement that gives me half of everything... including what you've won.” This highlights that until the Consent Order is made, any assets a couple may have could be open to potential claims from their estranged spouse.
Soaps can mirror reality and there have been various cases where lottery winners have been forced to give a share of their winnings to the ex-wife.
Divorced Nigel Page, 44, was sued by his ex-wife, Wendy after he won £56million in the Euromillions jackpot last year, even though she left him for another man over ten years ago. Wendy settled for £2million out of court.
This story as well as the Corrie storyline shows how couples in the process of separation and who agree a financial settlement must include a clean break clause in a Consent Order which restricts future claims. Otherwise, for those of you lucky enough to win the lottery, you may find yourself unlucky enough to be parting with a substantial part of your jackpot win.
Family & Divorce Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free initial consulation and fixed fee family law and divorce services. Call us on freephone 0808 175 8000 or contact us online.