A district judge in Minnesota has rejected a divorce settlement between former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin and his wife.
In an Oct. 26 ruling, Judge Juanita Freeman of the Washington County District Court said that a divorce agreement may be denied if “the transfer features ‘badges of fraud,'” or indications of tax evasion. She did not accuse the Chauvins or discuss their motives.
“The Court has a duty to ensure that marriage dissolution agreements are fair and equitable,” Freeman wrote, according to the Associated Press. “One badge of fraud is a party’s transfer of ‘substantially all’ of his or her assets.”
Under the agreement, Kellie would receive all equity in their two homes, all the money in their bank and investment accounts, and the money from her husband’s pension and retirement accounts. Reputable family law attorneys not involved in the matter suspect that the divorce is a move to safeguard their assets.
“This is just speculation, but it’s possible that the [agreement] was intentionally drafted to get assets out of Chauvin’s name in anticipation of a civil judgment against him from the estate of George Floyd,” said divorce attorney Marc Beyer, according to the Star Tribune. “That may be what the court is getting at when it references ‘badges of fraud.'”
Aside from murder and manslaughter charges, Derek is facing a suit from Floyd’s family. It’s unclear how much they seek in compensation, but the case aims to set “a precedent that makes it financially prohibitive for police to wrongfully kill marginalized people,” according to family attorney Benjamin Crump.
The Chauvins were also charged with tax fraud earlier this year. They allegedly failed to file income taxes and under-reported earnings for years.
Derek worked off-duty security for several establishments. In one restaurant alone, he allegedly earned $95,920 from 2014 to 2019, which he did not disclose as income.
Kellie, on the other hand, works as a realtor and runs a photography business. She allegedly failed to report $66,472.75 from the latter in 2014 and 2015, according to USA Today.
The Chauvins can submit a revised agreement, Freeman said. However, the new version must have a balance sheet that indicates the amount of debt each of them has.
If they are unable to provide one or the court disapproves it, the case could go to trial. Freeman could also divide their assets, according to AP.
Feature Images via Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (left) and USOA Mrs. Minnesota (right)