Rule one for bloggers is to stay on track. Do not go off topic. So again, I depart from the rules and simply have to "react" to a news story today that the Idaho lottery winner may have to "share" that huge prize with her "estranged husband." Oh, man – that law can be a bear.
Here’s the deal – family law 101 – in Idaho, everything you earn while married is community property unless you have a contract that provides otherwise. Most married folks don’t have those contracts. So when you separate from your spouse, but are still married, your earnings are community property. If you spend community property on a lottery ticket and the lottery gods strike you with serious lightning – you have to think about who owns that ticket and the $100 million or so that goes with "said ticket."
That is the issue facing Idaho’s recent lottery winner. She is reportedly in seclusion with her children trying to figure out how to live with that money. She is likely now contemplating life with a little less as her still-husband likely owns half the proceeds. She bought the ticket with their money since they were still married, so arguably – almost certainly – he owns half of the proceeds or roughly $50 million.
I am not a divorce lawyer. Oh, I have been in those battles and fought over the usual stuff – like who gets the silver cups from Uncle Fred and who pays for the kids’ health insurance. But this one is simply such a great teaching moment for anyone facing divorce:
Get it settled and sign the papers.
Until you do that – your lottery ticket is probably owned by "both" of you. Sign the papers and move on. Or remember the consequences of inaction – you get to share that prize with the man or woman you have decided to live without.
Ouch! It oughta’ be a crime