Kentucky House bill would make couples wait longer for divorce - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky House bill would make couples wait longer for divorce

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A bill moving through the Kentucky House of Representatives would make getting a divorce in the Commonwealth more difficult.

House Bill 427 would create a different set of rules for how a court would rule on a divorce.

Right now, no testimony in a divorce proceeding can be taken or heard until 60 days have elapsed since the couple has lived together. Under the new law, the two parties would have to wait 180 days.

“I see that extension as intolerable,” said Louisville divorce attorney Diana L. Skaggs. “It assumes that people enter into the divorce process without giving thought or due consideration.”

It would also include a provision in which any couple that has a child and wants a divorce would have to prove in a hearing that the relationship is irretrievably broken. A judge could rule that the couple be forced to go through mandatory counseling.

“I have never seen a couple ordered to counseling ... that saved their marriage,” Skaggs said.

Proponents of the bill say the extra time would allow couples more time for reconciliation in the hope of avoiding more divorces. They also believe mandatory counseling could help that as well.

“Children can get through divorce OK,” Skaggs said. “What they can't handle is conflict between their parents. “

Some attorneys also worry about creating a backlog for judges with additional hearings.

“Our courts are already overwhelmed,” said attorney Michelle Eisenmenger Mapes, “Especially family court. I don't see a possibility of if this statute were to be enacted, that’s going to result in any marriages that continue on.”

The bill first has to be voted on in a House judiciary committee before getting a vote on the House floor. 

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