Winning the lottery is usually a once in a lifetime occurrence. When this happens, most married people will be overjoyed to share their good fortune with their spouse and family. However, one husband in Florida did not share his state lottery winnings with his wife for one reason or another. The wife claims the husband had neglected to inform her of the winnings. She is now asking for her fair share of the winnings in divorce court.
The husband and wife had been estranged and had not spoken or seen each other for approximately six years. Her husband had been working as a mechanic with American Airlines in 2007 when he was part of a winning lottery pool with his co-workers. The group's jackpot winning was estimated at approximately $19 million.
The wife claims that the husband purposely kept the winnings a secret. However, she searched her husband's name on the Internet when she started to become suspicious. This led her to discover her husband's lottery winnings; however, she claims the husband had already disappeared by this time. The wife says she has attempted to bring her husband to court, but she was unable to locate him. In 2008, a court judge threw her case out due to lack of evidence.
When a couple obtains a divorce, each spouse is entitled to property considered part of the marital estate. In this case in Florida, the wife is claiming the lottery winnings should be considered marital property, which entitles her to her fair share of the winnings. However, the husband also has legal rights and will have the opportunity to present his side of the case in court. Both sides will have to formulate strong legal arguments based upon the facts and knowledge of applicable laws.
Source: wsvn.com, "Estranged married couple fight over lotto winnings," Jan. 16, 2013