A suburban Detroit man who was in the middle of a divorce when he won more than $30 million must share the lottery windfall with his ex-wife.
The Michigan appeals court says a marriage isn't over until it's over. It means Mary Beth Zelasko can keep $15 million awarded by an arbitrator, although she and Rich Zelasko had been separated for two years when he bought the Mega Millions ticket in 2013. Their divorce wasn't final until 2018.
In a court filing, an attorney for Rich Zelasko said, "Rich was lucky, but it was his luck, not Mary's, that produced the lottery proceeds." But arbitrator John Mills said the ticket was marital property. The couple had agreed to have Mills make certain decisions during the divorce case.
The appeals court last week found no errors.
A marriage becomes a business transaction after a divorce.
"Their divorce wasn't final until 2018." They separated in 2011.
I hope that they will become friends again who can celebrate their win.
So the former Mrs and uncle Sam get their share.
I suppose she sleeps with her greed better when it's covered in cash. Next she'll want spousal support.
He did agree to a third party to negotiate the divorce terms. So sounds like he has some sensibility.
Lol. Simple case. They were still married, not divorced. It has nothing to do with greed. Of course, we all recall the bum who was supported by his ex wife for years. When he won, she asked for nothing and she was still paying spousal support.
It is only fair IMHO. Just like the military where a Colorado Senator I believe had legislation passed that if you are married for greater than 10 years in the military and divorce, he or she automatically forfeits 50% of their retirement.
Now LP members, especially you legal types, had Michigan been an anonymous state, do you think he could have pulled a fast one and got away with the whole kit and caboodle?
I guess he didn't have one:
A Legal Separation: Legally create a space between you and your spouse. You live separately. Your Finances are Separated. Child custody, child support, division of marital assets and debts, and spousal support (called alimony if you divorce) are all ordered by the court.
Sucks for him, a win for her. Money is the root of all evils. In the end, technically it doesn't matter. Then again not my business.
Rich had options. He could have stopped playing the lottery after his separation or he could have broomed Mary permanently.
wander73, It is, "The love of money ..."
I do not think that money is good or bad. It is paper, digits.
Law Enforcement follows the trail of the money in a crime scene. "Follow the money"
Corruption and corrupt officials are usually discovered by following the money.
No. I think the lottery officials must have claiming forms which includes marital status. They likely have an IRS contact since they withhold a certain percentage so they must know info for any claimant. Your marital status is not private info so it can be shared between state entities. They probably ask about back child support, etc.
15 million before taxes isn't too bad. Every hot blond in Michigan will be hunting that guy down. LOL
Yes. In certain states you are either married or a dissolution has been rendered. There is no acknowledgement for "legal separation".
Totally understand that Michigan is of the former.
Doesn't mean.she HAD to go after his win. She sure as honey wouldn't be accountable for his debts during the separate residency.
I would have signed a waiver not to claim. But that's just me. I tend to not piggyback off another's luck.
Ohio might be an anonymous claiming state but their lottery's claim form asks if the winners if they defaulted on child or spousal support.
I am / am not (circle one) in default of an administrative or court order in Ohio requiring the payment of child or spousal support (Knowingly making a false affirmation regarding default under a child or spousal support order is a criminal offense under Revised Code section 3770.99(B)).
The Michigan claims form only mentions IRS obligations. And Zelasko agreed to arbitration and the arbitrator called it marital property.
Property is property regardless of the luck factor.
So, in a reverse situation with you winning a jp, you would have expected your separated spouse to waive his share?