Do I Need to Split My Lottery Winnings with My Ex?
They say money doesn’t buy happiness, but there’s a reason people never complain about winning the lottery or inheriting large sums of money. When you’re preparing to cash in that lucky ticket, your imagination is likely running a mile a minute just imagining your future prosperity. But what happens if you’re in the middle of a divorce or have an ex-spouse?
Timing Is Everything
Fortunately, the answer to this question isn’t overly complicated; in fact, it all comes down to timing and when you purchased the ticket.
You are not obligated to share your winnings under the following conditions:
- You are not behind on child support payments
- The ticket was purchased after your divorce was finalized
Equitable Distribution in Florida
Per Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes, all marital property is fairly, but not equally, divided between both spouses. This process is called Equitable Distribution. If the lottery ticket was purchased with shared funds during your marriage or while the divorce is in process, the judge may consider your winnings to be marital property. In this scenario, your soon-to-be ex-spouse may receive a fair percentage of your winnings.
A judge needs to consider the following information when equitably dividing assets:
- The income of both spouses
- The duration of the marriage
- Which spouse has primary custody of any children
- Both spouses’ future earning capacities
Typically, you don’t need to worry about sharing your winnings so long as the ticket was purchased after your divorce. However, as always, there is an exception! If you’re behind on your child support payments, your former spouse can turn to the court for assistance. The court always prioritizes the needs of a child first and foremost, and can issue a court order that forces you to pay the overdue amount. Of course, you’re entitled to the rest of your winnings once you’ve made this payment.
Have Questions? Schedule a Consultation
Divorce negotiations can become remarkably complicated when significant amounts of money are on the line. If you’re ready to file for divorce or have questions about your divorce settlement, contact the New Port Richey divorce lawyer at Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office. Our legal team can address your concerns and help you safeguard your standard of living.
Contact Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office at (727) 312-1112 to schedule a consultation.