According to the American Psychological Association, “about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce.”
Several months ago I met Judge Tim Philpot. Tim Philpot is a family court judge in Kentucky. He came by the AFA headquarters here in Tupelo, MS and led our morning devotion. Afterward, we met for an hour or so to discuss his new book titled “Judge Z: Irretrievably Broken”.
Judge Philpot began making headlines when he decided he would hold hearings for couples with children who were seeking divorce. According to Kentucky state law a marriage has to be “irretrievably broken” in order for divorce to become an option. These hearings are intended to discover whether the marriage is broken beyond repair or if there is a way for the marriage to be salvaged.
Predictably, secular forces have been constant critics of the judge. These liberals used the state Judicial Ethics Commission as a way to battle Judge Philpot’s efforts. Their complaint was that the judge only held hearings for couples with children and not couples who didn’t have children. This was the only argument that his opponents thought would make him stop the hearings altogether. The most shocking part of it all is that the judge is following the state statute regarding divorce proceedings.
According to the Courier Journal, “In a Jan. 6 opinion, it [the Ethics Commission] concluded that Philpot violated a rule that requires judges to perform their duties fairly and impartially, and another which prohibits judges from lending the prestige of their office to advance the private interests of others and from disclosing nonpublic information acquired in a judicial capacity. The order says that Philpot did not contest the reprimand.”
In response to this opinion Judge Philpot said, “I am pleased that the Judicial Conduct Commission has publicly affirmed that hearings to determine whether a marriage is ‘irretrievably broken’ are permitted under Kentucky law for every divorce, not just those with minor children.”
The divorce advocates and secular forces thought surely if they could get a public reprimand by the commission that Judge Philpot would fold to their demands and end these hearings. My favorite part of this story is that Judge Philpot didn’t end the hearings because of the reprimand but instead he decided he would hold “irretrievably broken” hearings for all married couples.
Here we have a family court judge who is not only following state law but is allowing married couples time to think about their desire for divorce before following through with such a devastating life decision. Divorce is proven to hurt both the mental and physical state of the couple and also has a horrible effect on the children involved.
Who would object to a family court judge following a procedure that at least attempts to give each spouse time to consider whether they could actually retrieve the sacred bond that is marriage? What is so bad about a few marriages being salvaged from these hearings that Judge Philpot is conducting?
From the dawn of creation, God has instituted marriage as a sacred bond between a man and a woman. The bond is intended to be unbreakable with each spouse being faithful to the other. The bond is also meant for childbearing and the raising of a family. Overall, marriage is the most divinely inspired sacred institution. Jesus said in Mark 10:9 regarding marriage, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Judge Philpot is a man of honor and integrity who values the institution of marriage. I applaud him for his boldness and wisdom in conducting these irretrievably broken hearings. If one marriage is saved and one child is allowed to have their mom and dad remain together, I count these hearings a victory!