For the first time, for good or for ill, Kentucky has adopted statewide rules for family court cases. The full press release issued by the Kentucky Court of Justice can be found here. A brief summary of the rules themselves has been issued by the Kentucky Supreme Court here. Finally, the full text of the rules for those of you that just have to read them in their entirety is located here.
I just spent the afternoon assisting in and taken part in a presentation to the interested members of the McCracken County Bar Association on these new rules. Without overly editorializing, I believe it is safe to say that the rules do not clarify as much as they had hoped and do nothing to simplify family law practice. Indeed, I believe that with the adoption of these rules, pro se litigants (i.e. people representing themselves) will be hard-pressed to be able to file their own cases or motions to modify child support if these rules are followed to the letter. Previously, many courts would somewhat assist or guide pro se litigants through the maze of family law requirements. However, with numerous new requirements imposed on filings just to get to the court, litigants who do not hire an attorney in an effort to save money may find that they have been penny wise and pound foolish when they consider their added stress and wasted time.
In the coming weeks I will be discussing some of the new rules and changes in a bit more detail. I am sure some of the rules will come into clearer focus after some time and application. In the meantime, if you or someone you know is considering going to court for the family law case, now is not the time to try to be a do-it yourselfer.