Contestant’s ‘Wheel of Fortune’ winnings up for grabs in divorce trial

An impending divorce may end up costing a Vancouver, Washington man – and recent “Wheel of Fortune” contestant – more than just a few vowels or a couple spins of the wheel.

It may cost him half of his $51,600 in total prize winnings.

In 2008, Scott Dole and his wife, Carrie Dole, were encountering serious difficulties in their marriage and nearly divorced. However, the couple was able to mend their relationship, narrowly avoiding a dissolution of marriage.

The following year, the world famous television show “Wheel of Fortune” announced that casting calls were being held in the Pacific Northwest (i.e., Portland, Oregon). After receiving encouragement from Carrie, Scott signed up for an audition and ended up landing a place as a contestant.

However, when the couple traveled from Washington to California for the taping of the show in October 2009, they were not getting along and did not speak to one another until after Scott had won the $51,600 in prize winnings.

Roughly a month after the show, Carrie packed up her belongings and moved out of the home. She then sought to secure a divorce.

In her divorce petition, Carrie specifically asked that Scott’s prize winnings on “Wheel of Fortune” be placed in escrow pending the outcome of their divorce trial.

How the winnings will ultimately be divided depends upon whether they are classified as community property or separate property.

(Washington, like Texas, is a community property state.)

  • If the “Wheel of Fortune” winnings are classified as community property, they will be split 50-50 between Carrie and Scott
  • If the “Wheel of Fortune” winnings are classified as separate property, they will not be subject to division and be owned entirely by Scott

Suzan Clark, Carrie Dole’s attorney, is arguing that the prize money is community property since it was won while the couple was still married (albeit during a period of reconciliation). Furthermore, Clark asserts that appearing on a televised game show and winning any sort of prize money can be classified as an earning.

“While it may not sound like working, it’s considered working that he was on ‘Wheel of Fortune,'” she said.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about dissolution of marriage or property division, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

‘Wheel of Fortune’ jackpot at heart of divorce battle (The Columbian)