20 Jan Are Lottery Winnings Subject to Equitable Distribution in a New Jersey Divorce?
In an equitable distribution state, which includes New Jersey, all the marital property will be divided in a fair way during a divorce.
Fair does not mean that it will be divided evenly. To decide what’s fair, a court will consider what each partner contributed to the marriage. To receive what’s fair, you should hire an experienced divorce attorney.
All debts and assets acquired during a marriage are considered to be marital property. Anything owned before the marriage or acquired from a third party, like an inheritance, are excluded.
Although real estate and personal property are the most common forms of assets divided amongst the two spouses during a divorce, assets such as pensions and lottery winnings are subject to equitable distribution too.
The date you filed for divorce will determine whether your lottery winnings are subject to equitable distribution. If your winning lottery ticket was purchased prior to filing for divorce, the winnings will be considered marital property and subject to equitable distribution. If the ticket was purchased after the divorce was filed, it will be considered separate property and the other spouse will not receive any of the lottery money.
Keep in mind that equitable doesn’t necessarily mean equal. A judge may look at other factors when deciding how to divide assets such as lottery winnings. This may include:
- Standard of living maintained during the marriage
- Whether one spouse put career goals on hold because of the marriage
- The time and cost of getting those goals or that standard of living back on track
In the event that your lottery winnings aren’t subject to equitable distribution, the spouse who doesn’t receive this money may be able to make arguments to adjust the distribution of other assets accordingly, and the value of the lottery winnings may still be factored into calculations of spousal support and child support payments.
If you’re in the West New York and have lottery winnings or other assets you would like to protect, please contact the legal offices of Jeffrey Bloom at (855) 208-3650 today to schedule a consultation.