Lottery Winner Must Split Half of Winnings with Ex-Wife

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In 2013, a lucky Michigan man bought a lottery ticket that won him a whopping 30 million dollars. When he purchased the ticket, he had already been separated from his wife for two years.

According to Michigan’s appeals court, the marriage isn’t over until it’s over. Even though he was already separated from his wife when he bought the lottery ticket, it was ruled that the winnings were still considered community property.

Unlike California, Michigan is not a community property state. In a community property state, the law demands marital property be divided 50/50 when a couple divorces. Michigan is an equitable distribution state. Still, property is usually split relatively evenly and fairly. According to LegalZoom, Courts will order a more disproportionate division, for example, more than 60/40, only in extreme situations.

An arbitrator made the decision that the man’s lotto winnings should be split with his ex-wife. Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution. It is similar to mediation, except that the arbitrator is able to make decisions if the parties cannot agree on an issue. The arbitrator determined that the lotto winners were “part of the marital estate” and likely not his first purchased ticket.

An appeals court reviewed the decision last week, and determined the case had no errors.

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Do you need assistance with your divorce, legal separation, child custody or child support case in San Diego? Call The Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC for a free consultation at 800-769-4748. We proudly serve clients in San Diego and surrounding communities, including Chula Vista, Coronado, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Ramona, San Marcos, and Vista. We represent clients in family law court in all of the court houses in San Diego County including downtown, Vista, Chula Vista and El Cajon.