Is My Spouse Entitled To Half Of My Lottery Winnings?

Spend your lottery winnings

Many marriages today are practical and sadly, sometimes loveless. There are many reasons why two people may have married for less than idealistic reasons, or why a couple might have fallen out of love with each other over time. People get used to their lot in life and they will oftentimes settle, even if it means being in an uncomfortable relationship. Getting divorced after winning the lottery is far from uncommon, as is separation in general after a life-changing event. When big changes happen in our lives, it wakes us up to the realities of the world in a clear and obvious way. It is no surprise that when an individual wins the lottery, he or she might consider leaving his/her unhappy marriage behind and embarking on a new chapter of life alone.

The issue that arises then is a financial one. Practically speaking, who really wants to split the jackpot with an ex-spouse when he/she can enjoy all the money for him/herself? This is especially true when one’s been stuck in a bad marriage and has built up resentment towards their partner. From a legal standpoint, the answer to the question of whether or not a spouse is entitled to half of one’s winnings varies from country to country and from state to state. The general rule is that as long as you are a married, your spouse is usually entitled to half of your assets, including any lottery winnings which legally fall under the category of earnings. There are several bits of information that are important to keep in mind when thinking about your lottery winnings including:

  • When did you purchase your ticket?
  • Have you already started the divorce process?
  • What are the specific pertinent laws in your State or country?
  • Will you be obligated to pay child support?

The first thing to know is that a lot depends on when you purchased your ticket. This means that if you bought a lottery ticket while you were still legally married, then even if you’ve managed to get divorced right away without your spouse finding out about the win, you are still legally responsible to relinquish half of the money. The reason given for why you’d need to give over half the earnings is because you were still technically married when you went and got the ticket. If you already started the divorce process before purchasing a lottery ticket, then depending on how far along the process you are, you may or may not have to split the cash at all.

It is very important to talk with a knowledgeable lawyer before deciding to make any big moves. If you act in a way that is considered illegal, you could be sued. In that case, you could end up needing to give over even more than half your winnings, and that’s not even considering the legal fees that you’ll have incurred. If you are thinking about getting a divorce and you don’t want to have to give over half of your money to your ex, perhaps consider holding out on buying that ticket for now. If you are okay with sharing, then go ahead and take a shot at playing the lottery. 

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