Lottery winnings and divorce: Will Holly Lahti be forced to share her Mega Millions Lottery Winnings with estranged husband Joshua Lahti?
Holly Lahti and Joshua Lahti were not divorced. Like John and Elizabeth Edwards, they were only separated. That could pose a big issue for Holly who won half of the $380 million jackpot in a recent Mega Millions lottery drawing. Even though she and husband Joshua were separated and not living together, because they were not divorced at the time of her winnings, Holly’s lottery loot will likely be considered marital property which she has to share with Joshua whether she likes it or not. This is interesting because according to AOL News, Joshua has been picked up for domestic battery among other brushes with the law and Radaronline apparently published mugshots of Holly and Joshua (Holly with a whopping black eye) sometime last week.
But is Joshua really entitled to any of this money? The theory with marital property is that if something is purchased with joint assets then it is marital property and if there is a divorce, the two people should share whatever all joint assets – whatever form they are owned in. The thing with the lottery win is that by the time Holly won the money, Joshua was long out of the picture. Though not divorced, they were SEPARATED. So that dollar and a dream was hers alone. It was not a “joint” asset in the technical meaning of that word. Why should he just ride in on his pony and get half of it, or even a significant portion of it, or, for that matter, any of it? This notion that equity would demand he should get any of that money considering he was long gone about his business when she won, is poppycock.
But she is going to have to give him something. He will fight her on this. And he will win. The courts are going to find that the fact that they were not divorced is dispositive in this case. That is just how these domestic relations cases go. They were only separated. They were not divorced. And I am sure in their separation agreement, no provision was made for unexpected windfalls like $190 million USD lottery wins. So somehow, this is going to be marital property. I don’t agree with the reasoning, but on some level, I guess I might understand the reasoning. And Holly is just going to have to suck it up and pay him pretty darn close to half.