PORTLAND, Ore. - A lawyer representing Terri Horman, the stepmother of missing 7-year-old Kyron Horman, has filed a motion to set aside the divorce matter between Terri and Kyron’s father, Kaine Horman, until a later date.
Terri’s divorce attorney, Peter Bunch, said in the “motion to abate” document that the divorce proceedings should be set aside until a later date because of the intense scrutiny she’s under in the investigation into the disappearance of Kyron.
“As a result of the intense scrutiny, and speculation, it is virtually impossible for me to proceed with divorce-related issues in as I would ordinarily do,” Bunch wrote in documents filed in Multnomah County late Wednesday afternoon.
He said the scrutiny comes from relentless media coverage of his client’s every move and reports by the media that she is “the center” of the investigation.
Bunch said that Kaine Horman’s recent claim that Terri Horman has paid her attorney, Stephen Houze, $350,000 is “grossly misstated.”
He also denied that Terri borrowed money to pay Houze. That money "did not come from her funds, and she's not asserting that her attorney fees with Mr. Houze are any sort of marital debt," he wrote.
Bunch also questioned Kaine’s claim that he is entitled to half of that money because he doesn’t have enough to support himself and his family.
“It is my understanding that (Kaine) is employed at Intel and has a good salary, and that (Kaine) had sufficient savings to fund the cost of his divorce as recently as several weeks ago,” Bunch wrote in the court filing.
In contrast, he said Terri has no job and can’t get one under the scrutiny she is currently under.
Additionally, Bunch said that Kaine is using the divorce proceedings for purposes other than ending his marriage to Terri.
“It certainly does not serve the interests of either party to have the divorce process complicated by the necessity of dealing with inquiries that would be related to the investigation of (Terri), rather than the divorce,” Bunch said.
In the court document Bunch said Terri will agree to give up all marital assets to Kaine.
Legal expert and retired sheriff’s captain, Bruce McCain, said the move could help Terri keep financial records secret and keep her from testifying.
“The practical effect of that is that Terri Horman will not have to appear on either the contempt case or on the alleged $350,000,” McCain said.
He also said this could prevent prosecutors from using testimony in these civil proceedings against Terri in a criminal investigation.
Two judges and a court clerk said Wednesday the move from Terri’s attorney is pretty typical. Motions to abate are often filed to postpone those civil cases when there is a parallel criminal investigation.
Kaine Horman’s attorney, Laura Rackner, filed court documents Monday that said Terri Horman told someone in writing that she paid Houze $350,000 to represent her.
Rackner said if Terri borrowed the money and considers them a marital liability, she should pay “one-half” of the money to Kaine to pay his legal costs.
Rackner did not return a phone call seeking comment on Wednesday’s court filings.
Kyron Horman, a second-grader, disappeared from Skyline School June 4.
Investigators have not named any suspects or persons of interests in the case and no arrests have been made.
KATU News reporter Thom Jensen contributed to this report.