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Officer files civil lawsuit as a last resort in military divorce

When considering a divorce, should pending criminal charges have an impact on the divorce proceedings? That is the question that has been raised in a highly publicized divorce between a military officer and his estranged wife. The wife has been charged with murdering their two children last winter while their father was overseas on military duty.

Upon return, the officer filed for a divorce and has since then also sued his estranged wife for the wrongful death of their kids. Divorce in general can be a complicated situation; a military divorce can involve additional complications to consider when figuring out how to distribute assets.

The wife has filed a claim for half of the couple's assets that include the officer's military pensions. The amount could total up to $1 million. Though the officer has requested an unequal share of the assets in his favor, experts believe that the wife could receive what she is asking for and that the murder charges against her should not make a difference in the divorce settlement.

In an attempt to prevent his estranged wife from obtaining half of their assets, the officer filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The civil lawsuit could nullify the requests made by the wife in the divorce. In fact, if the officer succeeds in his lawsuit, many of the assets would go to him; he is planning on using it to establish a foundation in memory of his two children.

When getting a divorce, there are a number of emotions that both spouses must deal with. In this particular situation, not only is the officer trying to cope with the death of his children, he also must deal with the fact that his wife, the mother of his children, was the one who killed them.

Source: tampabay.com, "Experts: Schenecker's wrongful death suit against wife designed to offset divorce judgment," Jack Nicas, 10 May 2011

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