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Sherri Papini's Husband Files For Divorce, Citing Irreconcilable Differences

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Days after Sherri Papini pleaded guilty to faking her 2016 kidnapping, her husband, Keith, says his marriage is over.

The Redding man filed for divorce in Shasta County this week, adding yet another twist to this high-profile case.

The divorce filing shows Keith Papini wants full custody of their two children and wants to keep their cars and properties. Family law experts say this is all part of a larger legal strategy to distance himself from his wife's web of lies.

"While the facts for the family are messy, I don't think this is necessarily going to be a messy court case," said Attorney Wazhma Mojaddidi.

Six years ago, the tearful husband made a gut-wrenching plea to find his wife. He had released a statement to the Los Angeles Times in support of Sherri's story, saying that he was hopeful the supposed suspects would be arrested. After 22 days, the Redding mother turned up in Yolo County branded, claiming she had been kidnapped and tortured.

Fast forward to March 3, 2022, Sherri Papini was arrested for lying to the FBI. That's the same day her husband claims, in court documents, that the two separated.

"What's in question is why did he wait until this week to file for divorce?" Mojaddidi said.

Keith Papini cites "irreconcilable differences" after their 12-year marriage. He wants full custody of their nine-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter and asks the court to allow visitation with their mom only with his approval and supervision.

"He is definitely saying to the court, 'I am the parent that is the better parent, where the children are safe with me,' " Mojaddidi said.

Under a list of assets, Keith Papini states: "parties have agreed there is no community property." Family law experts like Mojaddidi say it's an odd thing to see.

"I doubt that that statement is accurate," Mojaddidi said.

As part of her plea deal, Sherri Papini is supposed to pay restitution for investigative resources and money collected from the state's victim's compensation fund. Experts say it's unlikely Keith Papini will be liable for any of it.

"If he can claim that she breached her fiduciary duties to him, because of all the lies, he would be able to escape any possible liability," Mojaddidi said.

The heartbreak after the hoax is now laid out in court.

A judge has temporarily granted Keith Papini custody of the kids, allowing his wife to have video calls with them.

A court date on that is set for next month. Sentencing for Sherri Papini is set for July. However, even with the plea deal, she is facing 20 years in prison.

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