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If a husband and wife are separated and one of them wins a lottery, is the other spouse still entitled to any of it?

Tampa, FL |

I was wondering if that still entitled the other spouse to anything since they are not legally divorced, only separated. And if it does, then what percentage is the other spouse entitled to? I didn't think it did, but I just wanted to be sure, so hopefully one of you can answer my question.

Thank you in advance for your advice. And in a situation like that, should the spouse that actually won the money get a lawyer before they cash the check?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. In Florida, assets and liabilities are identified as of the date of the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage. There is a good argument that can be made that if the divorce is not yet filed, the lottery winnings should not be included because the other spouse did nothing to cause the good fortune of the spouse winning the lottery. Florida is an equitable distribution state and while there is a presumption that there should be an equal distribution, there are often reasons why the division is not equal.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Florida. Responses are based solely on Florida law unless stated otherwise.


  2. The other spouse gets zero.


  3. The lottery winning spouse should certainly get an attorney because the non-winning spouse will do everything possible to obtain some of the lottery money, and "equitable distribution" guarantees nothing. Good luck!

    IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE: Ms. Brown’s response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. All of Ms. Brown’s responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, please contact an attorney in your state. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to contact her directly for a legal consultation, you may do so by calling 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: marykatherinebrown@hotmail.com


  4. You should hire a good family lawyer IMMEDIATELY! Generally speaking, assets of a 'marriage' (there is no legal separation in Florida) are subject to equitable distribution. Good luck!

    This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Unless you are already a client of the Sosa Law Office, P.A., pursuant to an executed employment agreement, you should not use, interpret, or rely on this response as legal advice or opinion. Do not act on any information in this response without seeking legal advice. Melissa Sosa, Esq. melissa@sosalawoffice.com 813-681-5640.

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