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Lotto Winner Comes Forward After Divorce

It took Robert G. Swofford Jr. (search) more than a month to come forward and claim his $60 million Lotto prize, but he had to take care of some unfinished business — divorcing his wife.

Swofford, a postal worker from Seminole County, claimed his prize on Tuesday in a $34.7 million lump sum payout, ending weeks of mystery about who won the Nov. 24 drawing.

Swofford, 53, and his wife separated three years ago. But two weeks after the winning numbers were announced, Ann Swofford (search) served him with divorce papers and claimed a share of the prize.

Just before Christmas, the Swoffords and their lawyers hammered out an agreement. His wife will get $5.25 million and $1 million will be set aside to support their 11-year-old son. In return, she agreed not to seek any more of Swofford's winnings.

Swofford said he remembered reading about a divorce case where a lottery (search) winner kept it a secret and was penalized in court.

"I'd heard of a case in California where a judge heard about it after he had settled the divorce case and took the husband to the cleaners and made him pay everything he had left out of his lottery winnings," Swofford said Tuesday in Tallahassee. "I feel peaceful. She has money to, you know, raise my son and I feel that I am contributing to the welfare of my son."

Lawyers for both sides said they expect the divorce to be completed within the next week or two.

Ann Swofford has an unpublished phone number and couldn't be reached for comment.

Swofford, an ex-Special Forces member, has taken leave from the U.S. Postal Service, where he is a forklift operator.

His base salary was $41,000 a year, though he earned $65,000 in 2004, according to his divorce file. Just five years ago, a mortgage company foreclosed on Swofford's home and he was forced to file for bankruptcy protection.

"Oh, I think it's wrong to say that it's not going to change my life but I don't think it's going to give me a bigger head," Swofford said. "I'm still going to have to wake up in the morning, put one leg in my trousers and put the other one in and get dressed like everybody else."