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Crime Often Leads to Divorce

Being convicted of a crime can have many adverse effects on an individual’s life and marriage. Crimes often involve deceptive behavior, which can lead to distrust between spouses, and jail sentences can separate spouses for an extended period of time. Understandably, these factors can all lead a spouse to file for divorce. Having a spouse in jail can cause complications for the divorce case, however, as one recent case out of Florida demonstrates.

Rothstein Divorce Finalized

Scott and Kim Rothstein were married in 2008 and lived a luxurious lifestyle. In 2009, however, Scott fled Florida for Morocco due to a federal investigation and the couple has been apart since. Scott was soon arrested and charged with allegations related to one of the most extensive Ponzi schemes ever to take place in Florida. Scott was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison. His wife, Kim, was also convicted of a felony for hiding jewelry from investigators and served a 15-month sentence. While her jail sentence was over in March, she had to wait until the end of July to have her divorce from Scott finalized.

Many aspects of their divorce were relatively simple–Scott did not contest the divorce filing and did not even have a lawyer representing him in family court. The couple had no children together and the criminal cases with a subsequent bankruptcy left them with very little property. As far as property division, the judge reportedly granted ownership of a single car to Kim as most of their other property had been seized.

There were some complications, however. The divorce was supposed to be finalized in late 2014, though difficulties arose because both spouses were in prison. Under Florida law, at least one spouse must state under oath that the marriage was irretrievably broken. While Kim was expected to testify via phone call from prison, no one could administer an oath and so the hearing had to be postponed. Additionally, Kim requested to switch from her married name back to her maiden name to try to stop constant association with Scott. However, because she is on probation for a felony conviction, the judge denied that request.

Though the Rothstein divorce was relatively simple considering their history, many divorces following crimes are more complex. For example, if a couple has children, a criminal history may significantly affect child custody questions because a court may believe that a relationship with that parent may not be in the child’s best interests. Additionally, if a parent is incarcerated and unable to earn a living, any child support or spousal support determinations may be affected.

An Experienced Florida Divorce Attorney Can Assist You

Divorce cases often involve unique issues and a criminal conviction can cause many legal complexities to arise. Boca Raton family law attorney Alan R. Burton understands how to efficiently handle any issues that may exist in your specific case, so please call today at 954-229-1660 for help today.