FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 25, 2018) – The Senate Judiciary Committee today approved a bill to clarify that a victim of domestic violence is not required to pay the legal fees of a spouse in a divorce action when the spouse is incarcerated for crimes against the petitioner.
Testifying in favor of Senate Bill 68, Jeanette McCue of Washington County said she was stuck with her husband’s divorce costs after he severely beat her and held a gun to her head. After filing for an emergency protective order and for a divorce, she learned she would be held responsible for the legal fees of her husband due to his incarceration.
“That was a smack in the face,” she said.
Sen. Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville), the sponsor of SB 28, said McCue’s testimony in favor of the bill places her among those who “have the courage to use the power of their voice to get something done.”
Under current state law, someone seeking a divorce against an incarcerated person can be held responsible for paying the incarcerated person’s court-appointed lawyer, even when the imprisonment is the result of spousal abuse. SB 68 would take away this burden.
The bill was approved unanimously by the committee and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.