The wife of Michael Ruiz, the New Jersey man who murdered his ex girlfriend Debra Silver and her friend Daniel Tedlie in a jealous rage on the Upper West Side of Manhattan earlier this week, had filed for divorce from her husband on January 30, 2009. Wendy Ruiz still has an open petition for divorce languishing in New Jersey Superior Court. Should she withdraw that petition?
The lovers Debra and Michael met when Debra was a lawyer working for Philips Electronics as in house counsel, and Michael was working in the same company in the employee benefits division. It was basically an office affair that went sour and the rumor is that the parties had ended their relationship for some time. Debra had moved on and was having a baby by in vitro fertilization. But it was too late for the Ruiz’s marriage. Just eight days after he was served with a divorce petition, Mr. Ruiz snapped and went on a rampage, stormed over to his ex lover’s apartment, and shot her and her supper date (former lover Daniel Tedlie) with a handgun before turning the gun on himself.
The Ruizes lived in Glenn Wood New Jersey and had been married nearly 30 years at the time of the filing of the divorce petition–this is a long marriage by any stretch of the imagination. The Ruizes have two grown children. By all accounts, the family was a nice, normal family who seemed happy and well adjusted. Mr. Ruiz is described as a very “nice” and “quiet” man with a very “even temper.” All the neighbors are surprised by this development. (Why is it always the nice, quiet, even tempered people who do things like this? Is it because these people don’t vent, I wonder?)
Well, in any event, Wendy Ruiz must be distraught. This man, after all, had been her husband for nearly 30 years. Or maybe it was more like 32 years. This cannot be an easy situation for her to deal with. She must be filled with great sadness and distress, even though, I am sure this affair between her husband and Debra factored into her decision to end her marriage.
The whole thing is tragic, and regrettable, to be sure. As I said in earlier posts, it is the ultimate cautionary tale. But. So. What will happen to Wendy Ruiz’s divorce petition which is still languishing in the courts? Well, she can let it languish and eventually it will be marked “abandoned” and drop off the court’s docket. Or she can make a motion to withdraw the petition. I guess she could also insist on being adjudicated divorced. I don’t know what benefit she would derive from that, versus just being his widow.
I would think it would be better to be his widow, especially if he had significant assets and there was no prenup or will. She would stand to get at least 33% of everything he owned if he died without a will since he had children and probably living parents (he was only 55). If he had a will which left everything to her, even better for her. If he had life insurance, I don’t think she could collect since he committed suicide. Any employee benefits such as pensions, 401K’s and IRA’s would probably all go to her if he had her as beneficiary and didn’t yet have a chance to change them.
As far as the marital residence, if they owned it as tenants in the entirety, she would get it free and clear. I think the only assets that would be subject to the intestacy laws would be anything that does not have her name as beneficiary and anything that is not owned as joint tenants and tenants by the entirety.
I am speculating here. But I think she would and should just withdraw that divorce petition. I think it would be the smartest thing for her to do.Sign Up! Get Free Giveaways, New Ideas & Latest News Valid email for entry Thanks 🙂