‘You all might be able to work this out:’ Bullitt County judge denies couple’s divorce
SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Bullitt County judge has denied a couple’s divorce, claiming she could not find their marriage to be “irretrievably broken.”
Judge Monika Meredith issued the order on Aug. 13, a day after a hearing with Doug and Nicole Potts.
Attorneys for both parties told WAVE 3 News the couple, married since 2008, had been separated since November, and had the terms of their divorce mostly agreed upon. The main reason they appeared before Meredith was to receive a ruling on potential relocation.
The couple told the judge they had successfully been co-parenting their young daughter, and were cordial with each other during the hearing for her well-being.
At the end of the hearing, Meredith told the couple she believed they could work things out.
“I get the vibe that you all might be able to work this out and I could be wrong, but I sit through a lot of these things,” Meredith said.
She then asked the couple if they’d be willing to try counseling.
“Would it be beneficial to either of you all if I order you to go to reconciliation counseling or are you past that?” Meredith asked.
“I mean, I would say we’re past that,” Nicole Potts said.
Despite that conversation, Meredith issued the order, which read in part:
“While it is highly unusual, in this instance, the Court cannot make the finding at this time that this marriage is irretrievable broken based upon the testimony and evidence before it. 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.”
The order also mandated neither party, husband nor wife, “shall introduce the child to any dating interest until this action is finalized, or speak to the child about such person or relationship or permit any third party to do so.”
“Being told to stay with your ex when you both agree it’s over, is pretty stunning,” Nicole Potts’ attorney, Sidney Vieck, said.
“This is something really nobody would’ve seen coming,” Doug Potts’ attorney Dorothy Walsh Ripka said.
Both Vieck and Walsh Ripka told WAVE 3 News they believe the judge mistook their clients’ communication and maturity in the courtroom for love that is no longer there.
“Usually, people are only ordered to go to some form of counseling when they demonstrate that they can’t get along and that they need extra help in co-parenting,” Vieck said. “But here, where everyone’s on the same page about most of the issues in the case, that’s the ideal. That’s what you’d want out of people.”
Now, the attorneys are attempting to fix the situation, filing motions to get the judge to set aside her order and grant the divorce, like the couple wanted.
“I don’t know (Judge Meredith) had all of the information,” Walsh Ripka said. “And so, once she has all of the information, I think that she will have no issue granting the divorce.”
The attorneys told WAVE 3 News the parties are expected back in court Monday.
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