Last month, a Kentucky judge in a Bullitt County Family Court declined to grant a divorce after hearing the prove up for the divorce, and instead, sent the couple back to counseling. The parties had previously tried counseling several times, but those attempts were unsuccessful. The Judge’s rational for this ruling was that because the parties cordially resolved their divorce and put the interests of their child before their own, their marriage must not be irretrievably broken. Even the attorneys for the parties were dumbfounded, agreeing that their clients’ selfless behavior and commitment to put their child first is exactly what parents should do, and that commitment should not be mistaken for anything other than thinking of their child first.
It is telling that from the perspective of a family court judge, fighting, rancor and animus must always be present in a divorce, and it must be present to such a degree that it prevents the parties from even putting their children’s interests first. When the Judge saw parties able to rise above the fray, she could only deduce that their marriage had a chance to survive through continued counseling. She was unable to grasp that many individuals, like those who choose collaborative divorce, do not want to fight, and destroy, but rather transition and preserve as much as they can for their children’s and their own future.
Could this type of ruling happen in Texas? Unfortunately, yes. This is just one more reason for divorcing parties to use collaborative divorce where all the Judge is advised of is the parties collaboratively reached a resolution and that agreement is entered as the Court’ s order.