Court orders man to split his $30 million lottery winnings with his ex-wife, even through they were separated when he bought the ticket

Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesA New York man holds up two Mega Millions tickets he bought in October 2018.
  • A Michigan appeals court ruled last week that Rich Zelasko must split his $US30 million lottery winnings with his ex-wife, Mary Beth, even though they were separated when he bought the ticket.
  • An arbitrator had argued that since lottery “losses throughout the marriage were incurred jointly, so should winning be shared jointly.”
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A Michigan man has been ordered to split his $US30 million lottery payout with his ex-wife, even though he bought the ticket when they were separated.

Rich Zelasko and his estranged wife Mary Beth had been separated for two years when he bought the winning Mega Millions ticket in 2013. However, their divorce wasn’t finalised until 2018.

His lawyer had argued in their divorce proceedings that he deserved to keep the full prize since it was “his luck, not Mary’s, that produced the lottery proceeds,” according to Tribune Media.


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But the arbitrator making decisions for the couple in the case argued that since lottery “losses throughout the marriage were incurred jointly, so should winning be shared jointly.”

A Michigan appeals court agreed with that argument last week, and ordered the couple to split the winnings 50/50, according to the Associated Press.

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