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Divorce hits a speed bump due to service issue

Some Maryland readers will remember the media coverage of Scott Rothstein and his involvement in a large-scale Ponzi scheme. Rothstein admitted guilt in the $1.4 billion swindle, and is now in the early stages of a 50-year federal prison sentence. His wife, Kim Rothstein, has filed for divorce, but has encountered difficulties in serving her husband with divorce papers.

Because he aided in the identification and prosecution of members of organized crime, Rothstein is serving his sentence within the federal prison witness protection program. This means that his exact location is kept secret, even from his wife. Kim Rothstein is also serving time in a federal prison, after admitting guilt in attempting to hide assets from investigators and officials handling the couple’s bankruptcy. Her attempts to serve her husband with divorce papers have been hindered by the fact that she is uncertain where he is being housed.

Mrs. Rothstein has asked the judge in her case to grant an extension on the deadline in which service must be accomplished. Officials are trying to determine whether a federal official can accept service on his behalf, or how service might otherwise be achieved. In the meantime, any further progress within the divorce will be halted.

Most Maryland residents will not encounter this level of difficulty when attempting to serve their husband or wife with divorce papers. However, there are cases in which one spouse attempts to avoid service. In such instances, one’s divorce attorney can recommend process servers or private investigators who can assist in locating a spouse and meeting the applicable service requirements.

Source: The Sun Sentinel, "Where's Rothstein? Divorce hits delay because fraudster is in secret prison", Paula McMahon, June 2, 2014

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