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Woman forced to pay for abusive husband's divorce attorney

Colorado readers may be shocked to learn that a law on the books in another state requires victims of domestic violence to pay legal fees for their abusive spouse if the abuser is in prison. Making matters even worse, the legal fees in question aren't for criminal defense, but for divorce. That can make it hard for an abused spouse to find the strength and means to leave a dangerous marriage. 

One woman decided to use her experience in these matters to help others. While her husband was serving a 10-year prison sentence for beating her and firing a gun at her, she decided to file for divorce. During that process she learned that the state required her to cover the cost of his legal counsel. 

Because the husband was behind bars, he was unable to pay for his own attorney. According to the laws of Kentucky, a party who files for divorce from an incarcerated spouse must pay his or her legal counsel. That seemed wrong to this domestic violence survivor, so she partnered with an attorney to raise awareness of the issue. 

The case attracted attention, and several lawmakers partnered to file a bill that would end the practice of requiring a victim to pay for his or her abuser's legal fees. As for the wife in this case, her divorce is now final. She remains dedicated to speaking out about her experience with domestic violence, and helping others find a way back to a normal, stable life. Unfortunately, her story is a familiar one to many Colorado residents. 

Source: courier-journal.com, "Wife stuck paying for abusive husband's divorce lawyer because he's in jail - and it's Kentucky law", Deborah Yetter, Jan. 9, 2018

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