Are my Lottery Winnings Subject to Division in my Divorce?
The short answer is yes, your lottery winnings are subject to division under the doctrine of equitable distribution if you divorce. This is because although you might have been the only one to purchase the lottery ticket, the money that you won is money that you acquired during your marriage and thus, it is marital property and must be divided between you and your spouse in your divorce.
When Did you Win the Lottery?
If you were living separately from your spouse when you won the lottery, the winnings are still marital property because you were still legally married.
Florida does not recognize legal separations. Couples who choose to live apart before they divorce or instead of divorcing can have certain issues adjudicated by the court, including how to divide their marital assets. Separated individuals who have a court document stating that all property accrued from their separation point can use this to justify keeping their earnings singly.
For couples working through divorces, whether they had filed for divorce or not is the most important question when determining if one partner’s lottery winnings are marital property. In Florida, the date that the couple’s Petition for Dissolution of Marriage was filed is the date that they stopped accruing marital property. If the couple already filed for divorce, the winner can likely keep all of his or her winnings.
The Winnings Might Not be Split 50/50
Although your lottery winnings are marital property, they might not be cut in half and divided between you and your spouse. In Florida, divorcing couples’ assets are divided according to the doctrine of equitable distribution, which means that the court can divide property at its discretion after considering factors like each partner’s income, each partner’s health and future projected earnings, each partner’s contribution to the marital estate, and how the court determined other parts of the couple’s divorce, like their parenting time schedule.
Speak with Draper Law Office About Property Division and Divorce
To learn more about property division and other components of the divorce process, schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with a member of Draper Law Office today by visiting our firm online or calling us at 866-767-4711. During your consultation, we can take a closer look at the specific issues present in your marriage and divorce to provide you with personalized legal advice. We have three convenient Central Florida offices to better serve you: Orlando, St. Cloud, and Kissimmee.