MegaWith the Mega Millions Jackpot climbing to $970,000 million as of yesterday we couldn’t resist asking what would you do with your winnings?  A question you may have for us is would I have to share my winnings with my spouse?  As with so many things in life – timing is everything.

If you win the Mega Millions prior to filing a Complaint for Divorce the winnings are subject to equitable distribution – this means you have to share with your spouse.  How much you have to share with your spouse varies from state to state.  Under the Windfall legal theory your Mega Millions winnings would be shared equally.  The idea being you won the Mega Millions as the result of plain old good luck and not the effort of either party, therefore the winnings should be shared equally.  This is not the legal theory followed in New Jersey.  New Jersey addresses lottery winnings just like any other unearned income or asset.  It does not mechanically divide assets equally.  New Jersey reviews a series of equitable distribution factors and divides assets based on the actual needs of the parties.  Every case is unique.  However, you would still have to share.

If you win the Mega Millions after the filing of the Complaint for Divorce you should be in the clear as far as sharing the winnings.  Although your alimony obligation might go up because you would be potentially earning millions of dollars a year in interest income.

If you have any questions regarding lottery winnings, equitable distribution or alimony in New Jersey please call the attorneys at Iandoli & Edens at (908) 879-9499.

So back to the original question:  What would you do with your Mega Millions winnings?