Man must pay ex $15M after winning lottery during divorce, arbitrator rules

Man must pay ex $15M after winning lottery during divorce, arbitrator rules

Rich Zelasko of Pontiac had been split from his wife Mary Beth for about two years when he won the big Mega Millions prize in 2013.

The man is now obliged to share nearly half of his lotto winnings as part of the couple's divorce settlement after it was ruled the winnings constituted marital property.

Court documents showed the former couple marrying in 2004 and having three children.

Richard "Dick" Zelasko was thrilled to learn that he won the $80 million jackpot back in 2013 - that is until an arbitrator told him that half of his winnings would be going to his soon-to-be ex-wife Mary Beth Zelasko, whom he was involved in a divorce settlement with, the Detroit Free Press reports. He talked about that the "marital property entails all property purchased from the date of marriage till the date of entry of the divorce decree", at the side of property purchased one day of a separation.

An arbitrator had argued that since lottery "losses throughout the marriage were incurred jointly, so should winning be shared jointly." .

The court denied it and appointed a different arbitrator and the decision of the first arbitrator was upheld on June 13.

"It is very sophisticated to overturn an arbitration", talked about Michael Robbins, who's represented Richard Zelasko since 2015.

Robbins instructed CNN that the couple had been separated since 2009.

Richard Anthony Zelasko, 50, from MI must give his estranged wife Mary Elizabeth, 48, half of the money he received because an arbitrator handling their divorce deems it marital property.

When his divorce was finalized in 2018, an appeals court said he'd have to split the money with his now-ex-wife.

Robbins said his client can appeal the ruling and is "considering his options".

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