15 Years Of Marriage, A Lottery Ticket, & Alimony


Picture it, New Jersey, the year 2000 (in my Sofia from the Golden Girls voice).


No seriously. This is a true story about a real couple in New Jersey.


About 20 years ago, during a trip to a local QuickChek convenience store, Mike popped the question to his then-girlfriend, Eileen.


Over the course of their 15-year marriage, money was a constant issue. Unfortunately, like nearly 25% of most married couples, their money issues lead to the demise of the marriage in 2019. And since Eileen was the breadwinner during the marriage, she was ordered to pay her ex-husband spousal support for the next 5 years.


In the same year, the winner of the Mega Millions lottery was announced. Ironically, it was at that same QuickChek convenience store where Mike had prosed to Eileen. A funny coincidence, right? Now, here’s where things get really interesting…Eileen found out the winner was none other than her ex, Mike. Needless to say, she was shocked. I mean, what are the odds, right?


To give you a little history, Mike was unemployed during their marriage AND he won a whopping $273 million dollars a few months after the divorce was finalized.

Now, most people may have tried to reconcile with their newly wealthy ex or try to figure out a way to capture some of their winnings. Not Eileen.


Instead, she wanted something else….


To end the spousal support payments.


Eileen plans to take Mike back to court in an effort to stop the spousal support payments.


While there doesn’t seem to be an update anywhere online, here’s how her request could turn out in a New Jersey court.


Alimony is determined by the court after considering a number of statutory factors. One of those factors is the need of the party receiving alimony and the ability of the party paying alimony to actually pay.


In the case of Mike and Eileen, at the time of the divorce, the Court made a determination that he had a need for spousal support and she had an ability to pay. But what about now, clearly he doesn't have that need right?


It depends on the type of alimony she was ordered to pay. There are some types of alimony that cannot be modified for any reason. I can feel you shaking your head with your mouth wide open. Yes, I am saying it is possible that she could be required to continue paying him despite his lottery winnings. 🤯


But, in most situations, NJ law would allow a court to re-evaluate whether Mike should continue receiving alimony. And, it is almost certain (well pretty certain, but I’m a lawyer and we can never guarantee anything) that the Court would determine alimony should immediately terminate.


And, just in case you're wondering, no, Eileen could not now file a request for alimony from him. Alimony is determined based upon the financial circumstances of the parties at the time of the divorce. So, if you do not request and receive it then, you will be unable to later on regardless of any change in your ex’s financial circumstances.


So, if you’re reading this and have questions about divorce, don’t try to go it alone. Schedule a Divorce Q&A Session to get accurate answers around your divorce case.


The contents of this blog entry are provided for informational purposes only. You should consult with an attorney to determine how the law applies to the facts of your particular case. Reading this blog entry does not create an attorney-client relationship with Kelly McGriff.

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