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Roanoke Family Law And Criminal Defense
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Divorce: Arbitrator rules lottery winnings are marital property

The end of a marriage can be a difficult time for both parties. Two people who thought they were going to spend their life together ultimately arrive at the decision that it is no longer in their best interests to remain as a couple. While coping with these emotions, couples in Virginia and across the country are also left dividing their assets as part of the divorce process.

recent case in another state deals with what happens to certain assets that are obtained after the couple separates but has yet to finalize their divorce. The case involves a couple who were married in 2004 and had four children together.  In 2013, a man going through the divorce won $80 million playing the lottery, after the couple had separated. 

An arbitrator in the case ruled that the woman was entitled to half of the over $38 million the man took home after deductions and taxes, ruling that the winnings were marital property. The husband appealed the decision, but the court ruled upheld the arbitrator's decision. A representative for the man believes that the decision to split the money so long after they separated is a violation of state law and plans to take further action. In some states, typically those with community property laws, assets gained after a married couple separates are considered the separate property of the individual who acquired them.

The divorce process can be complicated even when there are no extenuating circumstances. When something out of the ordinary occurs, the process can be even more difficult. Unfortunately, many people in Virginia and across the country who choose to seek the next stage of their lives often feel unprepared to address many of the issues that might arise while separating their lives without the help of an attorney with family law experience. Such a professional can help a person fully understand all of the available options, including the potential for a successful appeal of a decision believed to have been made in error.

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