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Judge denies divorce, saying they ‘might be able to work this out’

The couple told the judge they had successfully been co-parenting their younger daughter and...
The couple told the judge they had successfully been co-parenting their younger daughter and were cordial with each other during the hearing for her well-being.(Liountmila Korelidou / Canva)
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 12:24 PM EDT
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SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WAVE/Gray News) – A judge denied a couple’s request to legally divorce, claiming she could not find evidence their marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

Attorneys for both parties told WAVE 3 News that Doug and Nicole Potts, married since 2008, had been separated since November.

The couple had the terms of their divorce mostly agreed upon and mostly appeared before Judge Monika Meredith to receive a ruling on potential relocation.

“Being told to stay with your ex, when you both agree it’s over, is pretty stunning,” said Nicole Potts’ attorney, Sidney Vieck.

“This is something really nobody would’ve seen coming,” said Doug Potts’ attorney, Dorothy Walsh Ripka.

The couple told the judge they had successfully been co-parenting their younger 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,” the judge 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 responded.

“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.”

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 irretrievably 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.”

Attorneys for both parties believe the judge mistook their clients’ communication and maturity in the courtroom for love that is no longer there.

They 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 said the parties are expected back in court Monday.

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