Man fans the flames of property division with an actual fire

While navigating the legal end of their marriages, Florida spouses must take care to control their emotional responses to these significant life events. This is a time in which numerous property division decisions must be made, and those decisions should be informed by reason rather than emotion. An example is found in the newsworthy case of a man who left a divorce hearing only to be arrested and charged with arson a short time later.

The main claims that his wife was unfaithful and that she left the family home with the couple’s children while the man was out of the country on business. He soon found himself in the middle of a divorce and faced with the need to renovate and sell the couple’s $791,000 home. After a hearing at which the wife was granted permission to move back into the property, the man apparently lost his ability to act in his own best interest.

A call was made to report a fire at the property. When first responders arrived, they found the man leaning against his car and laughing as he watched the house burn. He assured police that he had carefully checked to make sure that no one was home before filling the house with gasoline, opening a natural gas line and setting the place on fire. Police reports indicate that the man was highly intoxicated but cooperative as he was arrested.

Very few Florida spouses will have similar responses to the ends of their marriages, although many may think about such acts. It is imperative that anyone going through a divorce and subsequent property division makes choices that are guided and informed by a legal professional and not the individual’s own emotions. In this case, the husband’s rash reaction has not only led to his wife seeking protective orders but also to a very serious set of criminal charges.

Source:, “Builder, in midst of divorce, admits torching home, police say“, Julie Manganis, Aug. 1, 2016

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