I Ain’t Sayin’ She’s A Gold Digger…
We’ve all expected our exes to come running back to us, but not all of us can say it’s with a lawsuit in hand after we’ve won a $338 million Powerball jackpot. This is exactly the case with Pedro Quezada and his ex-girlfriend, Inez Sanchez.
It’s true that Inez Sanchez lacks valid legal claim here, despite the fact that the couple have a child together, were in a relationship for 10 years, and jointly own a business. This is solely because the couple were never married and the laws of equitable distribution do not apply. Also, New Jersey is not a common law marriage jurisdiction.
In common law marriages, you do not necessarily need a marriage license in order to receive all the benefits of having a spouse. As long as you can show that you have treated your significant other in every capacity as a spouse, common law will recognize a common law marriage. Some elements needed to prove this arrangement include financial dependence and shared residence.
Ms. Sanchez’s attorneys are claiming that the ticket was purchased with their shared earnings from the grocery store. Maybe — although, I think that could simply be defeated by the Buckwheat defense.
On a more serious note, Ms. Sanchez attempted to have a judge freeze the lottery winnings while Mr. Quezada’s attorneys attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed entirely. Superior Court Chancery Judge Margaret Mary McVeigh refused to dismiss the lawsuit and denied Ms. Sanchez’s request.
Although Mr. Quezada received approximately $152 million after taxes, Ms. Sanchez’s attorneys claim that he has allegedly begun to dissipate assets by shipping $57 million to the Dominican Republic, spent $300,000 on the Clifton home the two shared together until Ms. Sanchez moved out, given away $5 million (expensive gift!) and there is another $20 million that has yet to be found.
Now although we hope that Mr. Quezada will settle this case amiably with the mother of his child, it is more likely that we will see this case go to trial. Although she lacks valid claims to an equitable share of the winnings, she may have a decent case to readjust the child support payments according to the change in the cost of living, according to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. Therefore, a child has the right to share in the financial good fortune of a parent.
So if Ms. Sanchez chooses to fight the good fight and attempt to get her equitable share of the $152 million (or whatever is left) of Mr. Quezada’s Powerball winnings, her chances are very slim. However, it is likely that she may be able to amend any current child support payments through a court order or mutual agreement.
Earlier this year, Mr. Quezada paid a $30,000 child support settlement, and Ms. Sanchez filed a domestic violence claim against him. It should be interesting to see how this all turns out.
And of course we can’t finish without Kanye West’s musings on this topic.
Rob Anthony is a founding member of Law Street Media. He is a New Yorker, born and raised, and a graduate of New York Law School. In the words of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, “We need to be bold and adventurous in our thinking in order to survive.” Contact Rob at staff@LawStreetMedia.com.
Featured image courtesy of [401(K) 2012 via Flickr]