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Property division ruling takes parties' estrangement into account

Divorce may be a somewhat common occurrence in Denver, but this does not mean that there are variations between cases. While many divorcing couples face similar legal issues, such as property division in a high-asset divorce, there are cases in which contextual matters will persuade a judge to make an atypical decision.

For one Indianapolis divorce court, the unusual circumstances surrounding a property division issue required a ruling that departed from the norm. The divorcing parties had been estranged since 2006 and were living as though they were separated, both physically and financially. They did not, however, file for divorce until 2011, the same year that the husband won $2 million in the lottery. The court’s final ruling on dividing this money took into account the couple’s estrangement, and awarded the wife only 2.5 percent of her ex-husband’s winnings, rather than the customary 50 percent.

According to one legal expert, courts will generally divide marital property on an equal basis, but will deviate when necessary. In this case, the expert explains, the couple’s estrangement convinced the judge that the ex-wife was not entitled to half of her former spouse’s winnings.

Although there are some basic legal rules that apply to the equitable division of property obtained during a marriage, there may be room for interpretation by a court. Because of this, many people find it beneficial to speak with an attorney as soon as they decide to file for divorce. This can help these people understand the legal issues at stake and the potential for unexpected rulings.

Source:, “$2 million lottery winner has to give ex-wife $50,000,” Tim Evans, April 24, 2014. 

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