Are Lottery Winnings Marital Property?

lottery winnings

One of the most famous cases in Florida divorce court involved a couple who fought for years over lottery winnings. Winning the lottery can change your life, and in some cases it can make a person reconsider their current marriage status. If you or your spouse has won the lottery, it is important to understand how those winnings may be split between you. To learn more, call the office or contact us today at the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Boca Raton divorce attorneys now.

Winning the Lottery During the Marriage

Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that all assets acquired during the course of the marriage are considered marital property, regardless of whether titled in the joint names of the parties or individual name of one party. If one spouse wins the lottery while still married to the other, it is considered marital property and must be split equitably in the divorce. This does not necessarily mean that the winnings must be split equally, but they will be considered in combination with all the other assets in the marital estate. The court may also look at what types of marital debt exist, as well, especially if the spouse who won the lottery has a gambling problem that accrued debt during the course of the marriage.

Winning the Lottery During a Separation

If one spouse wins the lottery while separated or going through the divorce process with their spouse, the situation often becomes a little more complex. In Florida, the judge in the case often has considerable leeway to determine whether and to what extent the lottery winnings should be included in the property distribution between spouses. They could determine that the entirety of the winnings be included in the property division, that the spouse may keep the entirety of their winnings, or something in between. Having an experienced Florida divorce attorney by your side is absolutely critical in this complicated situation.

Winning the Lottery After a Divorce

If the lottery is won after the divorce is finalized, it is not considered marital property and belongs completely to the spouse who won it. However, it is important to consider other ways that the lottery winnings may impact your divorce case. Spousal support, also known as alimony, could be increased if you are the spouse paying or eliminated if you are the spouse receiving support. Child support can also be dramatically impacted when one parent wins the lottery. Similar to spousal support payments, child support payments could increase substantially or decrease significantly depending on whether the custodial or noncustodial parent wins the lottery.

Call or Contact Us Now

Lottery winnings can have a substantial impact on your divorce case and it is important that you understand how. At the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg, our skilled Boca Raton divorce attorneys are prepared to answer this and any other questions that you may have about your divorce case. To learn more, call or contact us to schedule a consultation of your case today.

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