Man who won $30 million in lottery during divorce case must split prize with ex-wife

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FILE – In this July 1, 2016, file photo, Mega Millions lottery tickets rest on a counter at a Pilot travel center near Burlington, N.C. The jackpot for the Mega Millions lottery game has climbed to over $450 million, just hours before the drawing, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit man who was in the middle of a divorce when he won more than $30 million must share the lottery windfall with his ex-wife.

The Michigan appeals court says a marriage isn’t over until it’s over. It means Mary Beth Zelasko can keep $15 million awarded by an arbitrator, although she and Rich Zelasko had been separated for two years when he bought the Mega Millions ticket in 2013. Their divorce wasn’t final until 2018.

In a court filing, an attorney for Rich Zelasko said, “Rich was lucky, but it was his luck, not Mary’s, that produced the lottery proceeds.” But arbitrator John Mills said the ticket was marital property. The couple had agreed to have Mills make certain decisions during the divorce case.

The appeals court last week found no errors.

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