Lottery and Divorce

An Indiana lottery winner was ordered to share some (but not half) of his lottery winnings with his spouse.  The parties had been living separate and apart for several years, but neither had filed for a legal separation or divorce.  Click here for the complete article.

This blog previously discussed what it means to live “separate and apart”.  According to the Indiana Court, during six years of separation, the Indiana couple “spoke only two or three times, never commingled assets, had separate bank accounts, and generally lived as single individuals.”  Had the parties lived in California, the lottery winner would have likely had a better chance of keeping the lottery winnings to himself (though he could have been ordered to pay support (depending on a number of other factors)).

In another lottery and divorce case from 2001, a California wife tried to hide the fact she won the lottery from her then husband.  He learned of the winnings after the divorce was finalized.  Needless to say, he returned to Court.  Because Wife intentionally withheld information regarding her winnings (in violation of her fiduciary duties owed to Husband), the Court ordered that ALL winnings be turned over to Husband.  In re Marriage of Rossi (2001) 90 Cal. App. 4th 34.

If you have a question about filing for divorce or disclosing assets, be sure to consult with an experienced family law attorney.