Separated, Divorce Not Finalized, Do I Have To Split My Lottery Winnings?

As a majority of states have caught “lottery fever,” there are a growing number of news stories and court opinions about how lottery winnings are to be divided in the event of a divorce. Sometimes the issue arises when one spouse won a big lottery after the couple has separated but before a divorce is final. The spouse who bought the lottery ticket wants to keep all the winnings for himself or herself, while the other spouse wants a piece of the action. 

The rule in most states is that if the winnings came from a lottery ticket purchased during the marriage-even if the parties were separated-the winnings are marital or community property, which means the winnings can be divided between the husband and wife. 

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