A Texas man has been convicted of perjury after he signed his wife’s name to the completed divorce paperwork and filed it. The divorce wasn’t contested and the couple still had an amicable relationship, so his ex-wife is unsure why he took such an unusual step. She was perfectly willing to sign.
There are, however, a few clues to his reasons. For one thing, his social media accounts indicated that he’d already remarried — before his divorce was actually filed and finalized. He may have been concerned that one or both wives would find out about the issue.
Some adjustments he made to the paperwork before he filed it also give some clues to his motives. He changed the paperwork on the divorce settlement to show that he owed only $700 in child support each month, instead of the $1,000 a month that was agreed. He also took the liberty of giving himself an extra three weeks of visitation with his children in the summer.
As a result of the deception, the Texan ended up being the focus of a criminal investigation and he ended up losing his military career in the navy. The original divorce was voided because of the fraud — an action that’s highly unusual — and the new divorce’s terms give him no visitation rights at all and require $1,300 per month of child support. For the perjury conviction, he received a sentence of home detention for six months.
Perjury is not usually prosecuted because it requires substantial proof that a party intentionally defrauded the court. In this case, however, there seems to be plenty of evidence available.
It’s important for couples going through a divorce to realize that there are consequences to deceptions of any kind. It’s important to be transparent in your dealings with your spouse — otherwise you’ll end up complicating your own life instead.
Source: Kitsap Sun, “Man forges wife’s name on divorce papers, but she wonders why,” Andrew Binion, April 01, 2018