Thursday, April 24, 2014

Court Ruling Ends Battle over Lottery Winnings

A Hoosier Lottery player who won $2 million while separated from his wife was told on Wednesday he would have to give his estranged partner 2.5% of his winnings ($50,000).

The ruling was made in the Indiana Court of Appeals and upholds the original ruling made in 2012 in the Allen County Superior Court.

Jose De Jesus Carrillo Perez married Maria Guadalupe Vidrios Zepeda in February 2002. They parted in 2006, but neither party filed for legal separation or divorce.

During the six years that followed the miss-matched pair spoke to each other no more than two or three times. They never shared assets or bank accounts and lived totally separate lives.

Carrillo Perez won his $2 million prize in January 2011 and filed for divorce two months later. The divorce was granted in June 2012, but Vidrios Zepeda wanted a share of her one-time partner's money and initially asked for $1.4 million.

Carillo Perez' attorney Mark C. Chambers said: "In the legal scheme, they were still married and the assets they accrued under standard divorce law would belong to both of them, and the presumption would be that they would be split 50-50. But this case was unique. When they split up, the wife took everything, and there was almost no contact for nearly six years until Jose won the lottery."

Allen Superior Court Judge Charles F. Pratt ruled that Vidrios Zepeda was not entitled to an equal split of the marital assets—including the lottery receipts.

Margaret Ryznar (Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis) said: "Often the court will divide marital assets in a proportion resembling 50-50, but there is room for departure depending on the court's judgment. Here, the departure is not surprising given that the husband and wife were living entirely separate lives by the time of the lotto winnings."