Sharing the Winnings After Divorce: Ex-Wife of Noble Prize Winner Shares Winnings Nearly 7 Years After Divorce
Robert E. Lucas, Jr., won the Nobel Prize for economics in the mid-1990s. An acclaimed economics professor at the University of Chicago, Robert Lucas pioneered the theory of “rational expectations”, which earned him the coveted and internationally-recognized commendation. Even before Robert Lucas earned the prestigious title of a Nobel Prize winner, his ex-wife believed in him. Rita C. Lucas, who had been married to Robert Lucas for 29 years before the couple divorced, believed in him so much, in fact, that she made his potential success a term in their divorce settlement agreement. Rita C. Lucas’ gamble paid off years later when he won the Nobel Prize title, and was awarded money in the amount of $1 million.
Terms of the Rita C. Lucas and Robert E. Lucas, Jr., Settlement Agreement
At the time that Rita C. Lucas and Robert E. Lucas, Jr., entered into their divorce settlement agreement, perhaps Robert Lucas did not have the same confidence that he would eventually win the Nobel Prize as Rita Lucas did. Believing that one day his hard work would pay off and result in the award, Rita C. Lucas insisted on a clause in their divorce settlement that would entitle her to a significant portion of the potential award. In the Lucas’ settlement agreement, Rita C. Lucas had her lawyers include the clause, “Wife shall receive 50% of any Nobel Prize….” The clause ultimately entitled her to $500,000 of the $1 million award that Robert E. Lucas received. The timing of the award is particularly intriguing, as the divorce settlement was due to expire very shortly after Robert E. Lucas received the news that he won the Nobel Prize. While surely some people would cringe at the idea of giving half of their winnings to their ex-spouse, Robert E. Lucas simply stated at the time, “A deal is a deal…It was her idea. Maybe if I’d known I’d win, I would have resisted the clause.” Robert E. Lucas optimistically added, “It’s hard to be unpleasant after winning a prize like that.” At the end of the day, the Robert E. Lucas, Jr., and Rita C. Lucas divorce settlement agreement serves as a great example of the creativity and flexibility of divorce settlement agreements. Rather than go through full-blown divorce litigation, they may not only save time, but provide a way for soon-to-be ex-spouses to decide on terms, rather than leave it up to a judge.
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