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Winning a Lottery during separation

Thousand Oaks, CA |

I am legally separated, but the divorce is not finalised yet.. ( living separately for over an year ). If I win a lottery, should I disclose it ? If I had to, how much % will go to my estranged wife ?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. If you do NOT disclose it, then your ex may get all of it. If it is won during separation, it is all yours. However, you have to share 20% with me. : )

    Attorney Williams practices FAMILY LAW throughout the State of California and may be reached at (831) 233-3558 and offers free consultations. The response provided in this forum is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information offered in this response is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon without further consultation with a legal professional after all relevant facts are disclosed and considered. DANIEL S. WILLIAMS, ESQ. LAW OFFICES OF DANIEL S. WILLIAMS 500 LIGHTHOUSE AVENUE, STE. A MONTEREY, CA 93940 (831) 233-3558 -- OFFICE (831) 233-3560 -- FAX


  2. Yes, disclose it! See Marriage of Rossi, where the wife lost 100% of the lottery winnings to her husband for failing to disclose her winnings. You are likely only separated, not "legally separated". If you purchased the lottery ticket before separation, the winnings are community property. If you purchased it after separation, the winnings are separate property. Even if they are separate property, you must disclose your winnings. Good luck!

    Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  3. I am not sure if this question is made in the wildly hopeful speculation that you might have a chance of winning--or if it is made because you actually won something. Either way--you should look at making sure you become legally separated, whether or not you think you are. Many people think they are "legally separated" because they moved out of the house--but whether or not they are "legally separated" in such case is a question which can be litigated and determined by a judge.

    If you have actually won the lottery: retain a local family law attorney right away. Mr. Conviser is right about In re Marriage of Rossi (2001) being a cautionary tale. Simply not disclosing can cost you the whole kit and caboodle.

    If you would like a free consultation regarding your family law matter, please give us a call. (805) 482-1170

    This and other interactions through Avvo do not constitute an attorney-client relationship and are made for informational purposes only. No guarantees are made.

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