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

As most 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 themselves, while the other spouse wants a piece of the action. 

In most states, the rule 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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