Earlier this week, on February 16, 2017, a new bill was introduced in the Kentucky House that would significantly alter the way divorce cases proceed through family courts. Click here for the full link to the bill (HB 427 introduced by Fayette County's Stan Lee). The proposed legislation is summarized as follows
AN ACT relating to divorce.
Amend KRS 403.044 to prohibit hearing evidence in a divorce action involving minor children before 180 days have passed since the filing of the petition; amend KRS 403.170 to require the court in a divorce to hold a hearing with the parties present to determine whether the marriage is irretrievably broken and allow the court to require a divorce assessment performed by a qualified mental health professional.
The proposed law does not include any exceptions for domestic violence victims to avoid confronting their abuser in a mandatory divorce hearing.
No exception is included for uncontested, collaborative, or amicable divorces in which spouses currently do not have to appear in family court if they have an agreement on what is best for their family.
Currently, a divorce cannot be completed until at least 60 days passes when minor children are involved.
Wait times in many family courts across the Commonwealth are weeks or months. Contact your legislator if you are concerned about the impact this law will have on an already over-burdened court system that attempts to provide swift justice to families and kids in need.