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North Dakota doctor loses defamation suit against ex-wife

Divorce cases can get ugly. When one of the spouses is a well-known and/or respected member of the community, allegations made by a spouse during divorce proceedings can impact a person's reputation and ability to make a living.

A Fargo physician, who was acquitted back in 2012 on charges of raping and drugging his now-former wife, filed a defamation lawsuit against her for the allegations. A Cass County jury determined on July 27 that the doctor's ex-wife did not defame him.

The doctor's ex-wife filed a malpractice suit against him, claiming that he drugged her with a powerful anesthetic called Propofol and then sexually assaulted her. As many of our readers know, Propofol has been linked to the deaths of both Michael Jackson and Joan Rivers.

The doctor accused his wife of fabricating the story in an attempt to gain custody of the couple's three children in the divorce. A jury found him not guilty of the charges in 2012. His medical license, which he lost due to the accusations, was reinstated. The doctor was subsequently awarded custody of his children.

However, in the defamation case, a jury concluded that the financial losses claimed by the doctor were not the fault of his ex-wife. As her attorney noted, the verdict showed that his client did not maliciously or wrongly seek to have him charged criminally. The doctor was seeking lost wages as well as legal fees. The doctor's wife has continued to contend that her allegations against her ex-husband are true.

Experienced family law attorneys generally try to persuade their clients who are going through a divorce to focus on the best interests of their children and their own future rather than to work to destroy their estranged spouse's reputation. Of course, if they allege that the spouse has done something illegal, they have every right to take legal action.

Source: The Dickinson Press, "Fargo doctor loses suit against ex-wife," Archie Ingersoll, July 29, 2015

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
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  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
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