Divorce deception: Man forges wife's name on divorce papers, police say

What happened

A Houston man now has to answer to his wife and the courts. Harris County Precinct 4 deputies said Paul Nixon, 51, tried to deceive the Harris County  District Clerk's office by forging his wife's signature on divorce papers. 

"He is alleged to have forged documents with her signature to try to solidify the divorce," said Constable Mark Herman with Pct. 4. "The wife inadvertently knew nothing about the proceedings or the divorce decree."

Nixon has been charged with aggravated perjury. He currently has a warrant out for his arrest.

How he did it

Constable investigators were contacted by Nixon's wife who told them her husband filed for divorce without her knowledge or consent. She also told deputies that all court proceedings and the final divorce decree had been completed without her knowing. Deputies launched an investigation and discovered Nixon submitted several forged documents and false information to Harris County District Court 257, including a forged waiver of service and forged signature of a notary public.

Court documents show Nixon filed for divorce on Feb. 15, 2019 in the 257th District Court. On April 17, 2019, uncontested waiver divorce papers were submitted to the court with forged signature of Nixon's wife and a notary public, according to Herman. The judge ordered to set aside the final judgment on May 30, 2019 due the falsified document.

What we know about Aggravated Perjury

KPRC2 legal analyst Brian Wice defines aggravated perjury as "telling a really big lie after you've been put under oath in connection with a court proceeding where your lie makes a difference."

Wice said the charge is a third-degree felony, which can result in up to 10 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Wice said Aggravated Perjury cases as they pertain to a divorce are rare and can happen without the other spouse knowing.

"In a situation where the divorce is allegedly uncontested your presence can be waived," he said. The lawyers can show up and sign and agreed judgment."

What's next

Nixon is legally still married because the court decided to set aside the final judgment due to the falsified documents, Wice said.

"As badly as Mr. Nixon wanted a divorce,  as badly as he wanted out that he would allegedly engage in this kind of conduct, yeah, they're still married," Wice said. "Sometimes, it's cheaper to keep her."

Deputies said they are actively searching for Nixon.

"We have teams out looking for him right now, I can tell you. And we have an idea where he's at," Herman said. "So hopefully, he'll turn himself in. If not, we'll catch him. Just a matter of time."