Jackpot winner must share money with ex wife. A Michigan man who has won an $80 million Mega Millions jackpot in July 2013 must share the money with his wife even though they were in the process of divorcing before he won the money.
In 2013, a man by the name of Richard Zelasko hit the jackpot, literally. He won 80 million dollars. After taxes, he was left with $38,873,628, according to an opinion issued last week by the Michigan Court of Appeals. This would have been the end of the story. But at the time, Mr. Zelasko was in the process of divorcing his now ex wife. Since they were legally married, the lady is convinced that she deserved some of the money.
The two got married in 2004 and filed for divorce in 2011. They have three kids together. According to Zelasko’s court filings, they had been separated since 2009.
After years of litigation, the arbitrator has ruled in favor of the ex wife. Since they still married at the time, the winning ticket was therefore part of the couple’s marital assets. Thus, she has been awarded $15 million to the wife. All other assets have been divided among the two.
According to the arbitrator, “marital property includes all property acquired from the date of marriage until the date of entry of the divorce decree,” including property acquired during a separation.
Zelasko spent 1 dollar to buy the ticket. Even though 1 dollar may not seem, it is, nonetheless, an investment of marital money ruled the arbitrator.
According to Zelasko’s lawyer Michael Robbins who has represented him since 2015 “It’s very difficult to overturn an arbitration.
The couple’s divorce was finalized in 2018.