INDIANAPOLIS — A man who won $2 million in the Hoosier Lottery while separated from his wife has to give her only 2.5% of the winnings, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
The decision upholds a 2012 Allen Superior Court ruling in which Jose De Jesus Carrillo Perez was ordered to pay his ex-wife, Maria Guadalupe Vidrios Zepeda, $10,000 each year for five years from the money he won on a scratch-off ticket in 2011.
The couple married in February 2002. They separated in March 2006, but neither filed for legal separation or divorce at the time.
"During the next six years," the court order said, "the couple spoke only two or three times, never comingled assets, had separate bank accounts, and generally lived as single individuals."
In January 2011, Carrillo Perez won the $2 million. That March he filed for divorce; it was granted June 19, 2012.
After Carrillo Perez won the lottery, his estranged wife wanted a share of it, said Fort Wayne attorney Mark C. Chambers, who represented Carrillo Perez. He said Vidrios Zepeda initially asked for $1.4 million.
"The interesting thing for us was that the parties were separated physically, but they didn't file for divorce," said Chambers. "In the legal scheme, they were still married and the assets they accrued under standard divorce law would belong to both of them and the presumption would be that they would be split 50-50.