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Judges affirm ex-wife’s cut of lottery winnings

April 23, 2014

The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a woman’s contention that she should be entitled to more than 2.5 percent of her ex-husband’s lottery winnings based on his admission that 70 percent distribution would be “fair and equitable.”

Jose De Jesus Carrillo Perez and Maria Guadalupe Carrillo Perez married in 2002 and began living apart in 2006, but the couple did not file for legal separation or dissolution. Jose Carrillo Perez won $2 million on a lottery scratch-off ticket in January 2011; he filed for divorce in March 2011.

The court dissolved the marriage in June 2012 and ordered Jose Carrillo Perez to pay Maria Carrillo Perez $50,000 from his lottery winnings, as well as part of her attorney fees and debt.

In In re the Marriage of: Jose de Jesus Carrillo Perez and Maria Guadalupe Carrillo Perez, Maria Guadalupe Vidrios Zepeda f/k/a Maria Guadalupe Carrillo Perez v. Jose de Jesus Carrillo Perez, 02A05-1305-DR-256, Maria Carrillo Perez claimed that her ex-husband’s admission that a distribution to her of 70 percent of the lottery winnings is “a fair and equitable distribution” conclusively establishes the marital estate must be so divided. The judges rejected her claim, pointing out that requests for admissions can establish legal conclusions, but the court was not obligated to find that a 70/30 split was the only fair and equitable division.

“Here, the broad discretion of the trial court must include the ability to consider a range of just and reasonable divisions even though a request for admission establishes one division is fair and equitable. Therefore, the trial court committed no reversible error when it declined to divide the lottery winnings in the manner Jose admitted would be ‘a fair and equitable distribution,’” Judge Melissa May wrote.

 

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