During a divorce proceeding, dividing a couple’s marital property can be a complex task, particularly if the couple has substantial assets. Deciding who gets what is usually done by first segregating marital property from separate property. However, some may wonder how lottery winnings would be divided in a divorce settlement?

In a recent case, a man who won $80 million while in the middle of a divorce proceeding has been ordered to share nearly half of his ticket money with his ex-wife as part of their divorce settlement. The couple had been separated for about two years when the man won the Mega Millions prize in 2013. They had been married in 2004, but their divorce was not finalized until 2018.

While hearing the case, the appeals court upheld the arbitrator’s decision and ruled that the marriage wasn’t over at the time the ticket was purchased and, therefore, the ticket should be considered marital property. Reportedly, the man won the $80 million prize in 2013 and after taxes and deductions, he took home just short of $39 million.

Dividing marital property is not as simple as it seems. When a couple separates, marital property is divided according to the laws of the state that the couple lives in: whether they live in a common law property state or a community property state.

If you are going through a divorce or planning for one, you should consult a legal professional to guide you on the different legal options that are available.