Paid half to ex-wife

Robert Lucas and Rita Cohen met while both were undergraduates at the University of Chicago, and they got married in 1959. They had two sons together, but eventually things didn't work out. They separated in 1982 and divorced a few years later, citing "irreconcilable differences."

But Rita evidently had faith in Robert's talent, because she instructed her lawyer to add a clause to the divorce settlement specifying that if Robert won the Nobel Prize by October 31, 1995, she would receive half the prize money.

Robert was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics on October 10, 1995 — 21 days before the clause would have expired.

Asked about having to pay half the prize to his ex-wife, he noted philosophically that, "A deal is a deal." But added, "Maybe if I'd known I'd win, I would have resisted the clause."

More info: LA Times (Oct 21, 1995)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Oct 21, 1995

     Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 25, 2016
     Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests | Divorce

And she's not been burned as a witch?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 08/25/16 at 09:01 AM
My sister got a very similar arrangement when she divorced her first - but his lawyer and the ex didn't notice that half of his Navy pension would go to her until he retired after his twenty years. By the time he realized the clause in the agreement it was too late, he had already signed the agreement. Apparently he thought that all the proceeds would be his, which was not a insignificant amount.
Posted by KDP on 08/25/16 at 09:17 AM
I must say this post made me chuckle a little. I wonder how he felt about it after the initial feeling of awe wore off. I couldn't imagine that happening to me, especially with the fact that if it had been won just 3 weeks later he would not have had to share any of it.
Posted by Conrad on 08/25/16 at 01:14 PM
And this is supposed to be one of the world's best economists...
Posted by Richard Bos on 08/25/16 at 03:43 PM
Actually, Albert Einstein, when he divorced his first wife, specified that, should he ever win the Nobel Prize, that all of the cash amount would go to her. He would keep the medal, the certificate, the honor, and the chance to shake hands with a king.

She used the money to buy three apartment houses in Switzerland, which she managed, and which supported her, for the rest of her life.
Posted by Joshua Zev Levin, Ph.D. on 08/25/16 at 04:06 PM
Aren't most prize winners pretty much self sufficient by the time the get the prize?
Posted by GFinKS on 08/29/16 at 11:26 AM
Not always. The prize money is supposed to go for continued research, but there are no official strings attached.
Posted by Joshua Zev Levin, Ph.D. on 08/29/16 at 03:13 PM
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