Legal Q about lottery and divorce

The first story at this link says a woman did not disclose her lottery winnings when she filed for divorce, and when the ex husband found out about it two years later, she was required by the judge to give him all the lottery winnings.

Is there a general rule that if you don’t disclose you have to give it all to the other divorcee, or is this just something that judge decided to do in that particular case? Seems a mite harsh to me, though I can imagine if the rule is anything less than “you have to give it all over” there will always be some incentive to play games.

Many or most jurisdictions require the parties to file sworn financial affidavits setting forth their assets and liabilities. If you lie to the court on the affidavits and get found out, the court is going to want to impose a penalty. I’m not aware of a state that has a general rule that the other party gets everything, but certainly most states want to impose a pretty harsh penalty for playing games with the court.

The case to which you link was in California, where community property laws hold sway --the husband would most likely (in the absence of a prenup) have been entitled to half of it anyway, so the punishment for fraud/malice was the other half. Antagonizing a judge rarely works out well.

Think about it this way: if she thought that it was fair for all the lottery winnings to go to one person (herself), how could she argue against all the winnings going to her ex? And since she broke the rules …