It may seem like an abstract issue but one of the most popular issues that divorce attorneys in Altamonte springs experience is during property division is how to treat lottery claims during a divorce
Let us imagine that you play the lottery while happily married and unexpectedly hit the jackpot. How much of your prize money is your soon-to-be ex entitled to? Ever thought about that? We doubt that you have. As farfetched as it seems, you should know what can happen if this happens.
One of the best examples of lottery wins during a relationship that divorce attorneys in Altamonte springs cite was a court case involving Elford & Elford. This matter involved a lottery windfall which Mr. Elford won in January of 2014. The total winning which he won was $622,842 and came to being in the first year of a decade of married life. Mr. Elford added an additional $22,000 to the amount and created a term deposit account for $650,000 in only his name which he did not touch till the time the marriage came to an end.
The couple were valued at about $1.4 million which included the husband’s home which was free from mortgages, the wife’s home which had about $35,000 in equity and the husband’s investments and bank account balances which came to about $960,000.
By the time the divorce proceedings started, Mr. Elford’s lottery win was now worth $1 million and during court proceedings, Mrs. Elford appealed that this money should be considered as a joint financial contribution and split evenly.
The judge ruling over the case dismissed her appeal and during the property division, she received about 10% of all their combined properties including her husband’s lottery win.
In this case, assets and finances of the couple were kept independent of each other and the marriage. Mr. Elford used his money to cater for home expenses and utilities while Mrs. Elford used her income to support the children she brought into the marriage and provided for the feeding and groceries. She also was not part of the actions of the ticket purchase, the choosing of the winning numbers and her name was not present on the purchase. Also, the money was placed in an account belonging only to Mr. Elford.
This case established a legal principle for how lottery windfalls should be address during divorce settlements. It is also a timely warning to you that you should not view your marriage as a ‘joint financial institution’.
A good divorce attorneys in Altamonte spring will warn you that there will be cases where your spouse’s contributions may not be attributed as a product of your marriage. This may significantly affect you during the division of properties.
Before you begin divorce proceedings, you should consult a divorce attorney in Altamonte springs to have a good idea of how best to protect your finances and assets during your marriage or other relationships to avoid undue loss in the event of an uncoupling.