Pete Rose, Gambling and Divorce: A Lesson

gambling casino

Pete Rose, no stranger to gambling issues over his adult life – it remains the single reason he is not in the Hall of Fame – apparently has continued his problem in his current marriage that is actually his current divorce.

Rose apparently divorce proceedings in 2011 – yes, seven years ago. During the period of estrangement, it appears that the court ordered Rose to pay Carol, his estranged wife, spousal support of $20,000 per month. It also appears Rose owes $20,000 per month to the IRS to resolve back taxes.

So, what is the issue?

It seems that the parties have not been able to reach a settlement on the support issue because of alleged gambling debts that have been used to understate Rose’s income and misstate the marital property.

Carol asserts that Rose earns $120,000 per month and should pay more in support, even though he has not been able to meet the $20,000 per month current support. Rose alleges he does not make that much money (cut it in half) and that he owes lots of people money – but not for gambling.

Why would this make a difference?

If Rose had incurred debts through poor business decisions, he and Carol would both likely have to bear the brunt of those decisions, so long as they were not completely unreasonable or done without her knowledge and consent. However, if Rose had run up $1 million dollars in gambling debt without Carol’s knowledge and consent, that debt would amount to dissipating marital assets and would be solely the responsibility of Rose.

If the court removes the $1 million from the marital estate, the parties have more to divide in assets and Carol would take a greater share with no debt. Also, voluntary if not smart choices like gambling do not diminish the income of the gambler for support purposes.As long as Rose can expect the continued income stream, Carol should not suffer and receive less support – a different rule would actually encourage those with spousal support obligations to literally spend their support obligation away.

How does this apply to me?

If you have a spouse with a gambling problem, you should track the funds very carefully and make sure that your marital estate has not been understated by the gambling spouse or that the gambling spouse is understating income.

Half of the marital funds squandered by the gambler would be owed to you – in Rose’s case, that would be $500,000. Also, his or her indebtedness to a casino or bookie would be his problem to resolve without hurting you and your need for support.

The law draws a clear line between reasonable debt and unreasonable debt, and gambling falls on the unreasonable side.

If you have questions about gambling debt and divorce, contact us – we can help.

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