Suppose you’re married, in the middle of a divorce, and your soon-to-be ex-spouse puts a dollar in, and she gets three-hundred-ninety-eight million. It doesn’t matter that you’re in the middle of a divorce: Fifty percent of that is yours because that dollar she used was a dollar that was generated from income during the marriage.
Assume she puts a dollar in during the marriage, even if you’re in the middle of a divorce, and she doesn’t tell you about it. Then the divorce gets finalized. Two months later, we find out that she was the big winner of that gigantic pot: I’m going to be looking into when she bought that one-dollar ticket. If she didn’t disclose to you that asset that she had coming down the pike, that’s a bigger problem because she could be sanctioned by the court beyond fifty percent of the original pot winnings.
So, now the divorce is over and she took her dollar and went and bought a ticket. If she won the lottery, she’d want to choose a lump sum, because if she chooses a lump sum, there’s no regular stream of income to her.
But, if she chose the option of payments that come in as recurring payments, she has a huge income stream coming in. Under those circumstances, if my client’s spousal support is modifiable in post-decree, I’m coming after her for a big chunk of that money because of her increased income.
If you purchase the lottery ticket post-marriage, you always want to take the lump sum if your spousal support was modifiable.