Chinese Man Wins The Lottery, Divorces Wife Before Picking Up Winnings

| by Lauren Briggs
stack of Chinese yuanstack of Chinese yuan

A man in southwest China won the lottery in February, but before he collected his winnings, he immediately divorced his wife. Now, a court has ordered him to pay her a quarter of his fortune.

When Liu Xiang found out he had won over $720,000 from a lottery ticket purchased on Chinese New Year's Eve, his first move was to divorce his wife, Yuan Li, while keeping his lips sealed about his windfall, reports the Independent.

Liu picked up his money the next day, but his ex-wife sued him for half of his winnings after she learned what had happened. A court ordered him to hand over one-quarter of the sum.

The couple separated in July 2014, a year after Liu started seeing a former girlfriend, according to the South China Morning Post. The estranged couple remained married.

When her husband requested the divorce in February and offered to pay the nearly $40,000 in debt the couple owed, Li said she was surprised and had no choice but to agree to it.

Li only found out that her ex-husband had won the lottery when a friend called to congratulate the couple on their win.

She sued Liu for half of his winnings, claiming that it should be shared evenly because he bought the ticket when they were still married.

Liu maintained that the timing of the divorce in relation to when he picked up his money was a complete coincidence, but the court ordered him to pay his ex-wife $180,480 as compensation.

China's lottery, which is run by the state, has been popular since 1987, although ticket sales have increased in recent years, according to the Independent.

"As living conditions have improved, Chinese people have wanted to have more fun, to have a wider range of experiences," said Cheng Haiping, a professor with the Chinese lottery research center in Beijing. "A stronger desire to gamble is part of that."

Sources: Independent, South China Morning Post / Photo Credit: faungg/Flickr