When couples ponder divorcing, it is not done lightly. Usually, they try marital counseling to save the marriage prior to seeking a divorce.

A judge in Kentucky has completely turned this on its head and has misread the situation. The ABA Journal reports that Bullitt County Family Court Judge Monica Meredith ordered Doug and Nicole Potts into counseling and denied their divorce under the reasoning that because they were civil with each other and worked well together on parenting issues, that the marriage was not irretrievably broken.

“Frankly, the court observes these parties to be two people who have lost the ability to communicate with one another about their emotional relationship and, perhaps, have let their pride become a wall between them,” Meredith wrote in her order. “The court notes that these parties give the impression that each is devoted to working through their personal conflict in ways that reduce the negative effects of the situation on the child,” Meredith continued. “The court respects the effort the parties have demonstrated in that regard and encourages the parties to continue to do so.”

This is not the role of a judge. The parties certified under oath that their relationship had broken down. That doesn’t mean they have daggers out. By Judge Meredith’s standard, very few people would qualify to divorce under a no-fault cause of action. Even worse, she is punishing conduct we usually want to reward — civility and working out issues. Rather, she seemingly has forced her values onto these people in her courtroom.

While many people are angry or disappointed in a divorce situation, they are usually civil with each other. Some divorcing couples are still very much in love, but other things have gotten in the way of the marriage. People divorce for all kinds of reasons. I’ve had more than one couple reconcile during my mediations, but that is never the stated goal.

We should demand better from our judges. Thankfully, we do seem to get that here in New Jersey.

If you’re looking for a cheaper, quicker and more civil way to divorce, contact me to discuss mediating your divorce.