A judge has rejected a proposed divorce agreement between Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd's death, and his estranged wife, citing the possibility of fraud.
Washington County Judge Juanita Freeman issued the order in late October declining the agreement, writing that a transfer of "substantially all" of one's assets to the other in an uncontested marriage dissolution is a "badge of fraud."
The Chauvin's agreement apparently sought to transfer the majority of Derek Chauvin's assets to Kellie Chauvin. The order said the couple's agreement would transfer all the equity in their homes, funds in their bank and investment accounts, and all of Derek Chauvin's pension and retirement accounts "except for the nonmarital portion of two specific accounts" to Kellie Chauvin.
State law encourages divorces to be settled without additional court involvement, but Freeman notes in her order that "The court has a duty to ensure that marriage dissolution agreements are fair and equitable" and says judges can deny an uncontested agreement between a couple if the transfer features "badges of fraud."
She did not accuse them of fraud or provide any other details or motives for her decision. She did write the Chauvins can submit a revised agreement to be considered by the court, adding it must indicate which portion of Derek Chauvin's pension and retirement accounts are nonmarital and "include a balance sheet specifically indicating the total dollar value of the debts and assets that are assigned to each party," the order states.
The Star Tribune spoke to local divorce attorneys, who said this kind of ruling is "rare," and speculated that
The attorneys told the paper divorces of convenience do sometimes happen, often filed to help protect the assets of someone, like when they go into assisted living. The attorneys speculated that the Chauvins are trying to protect their assets ahead of any potential civil judgments against him related to the Floyd case.
Floyd's family filed a federal civil lawsuit in July against the city of Minneapolis, Derek Chauvin and the other three officers involved J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.
Bring Me The News has reached out to Kellie Chauvin's attorney for comment. Derek Chauvin does not have an attorney listed in the divorce.
Derek and Kellie Chauvin were charged with tax fraud in July, accused of failing to properly file their income taxes in Minnesota for a few years, including not reporting all of their income.
Derek Chauvin faces second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges in Floyd's May 25 death. His trial – along with the three other former officers charged in the case – is scheduled to begin March 8.