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Murder-for-hire plot complicates divorce proceedings

In a November 17 post, some of our frequent readers here in Georgia read about the disturbing case of a wife who filed for divorce then tried to a hire a fake hit man to kill her husband before the divorce was settled. It was a scenario many people across the nation hope they never have to encounter in their own lives, but it also raises an important question among our readers: could a murder-for-hire plot be used in a divorce case?

Our readers might have this question answered because it is being posed in an Oregon court room. Just this month, both parties in a contentious divorce case began arguing over what should be used in the civil and criminal proceedings and what should not. Similar to the case we presented back in November, the wife in this case allegedly asked a man to "get rid" of her husband sometime after the couple’s 7-year-old son had disappeared in 2010. The husband, who had filed for divorce and a restraining order against his wife, has asked that this information be addressed in their divorce hearing because it establishes his wife’s character and whether she should have visitation rights with their daughter.

It's a move some of our readers would also do if they were in a similar situation.

Although the case is happening miles away from residents here in Georgia and is not subject to our laws, determinations made in the case regarding child custody and visitation will likely be based on the same principles that would apply here. The judge will likely make their decision based on what is in the best interest of the child and whether the woman is a suitable parent. If in this case, the criminal courts believe that there is a link between the couple's son and the murder plot against the husband, then a family law judge may feel that the woman is not a suitable parent and should not be allowed visitation rights or custody of their daughter. If visitation is awarded to the mother, however, the father might try to challenge this in an appeal, further complicating the situation.

Source: KGW.com, "Horman divorce focuses on murder-for-hire," Kyle Iboshi, Dec. 16, 2013

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William C. Gentry, Attorney at Law

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