Judge copies plot from his novel in some divorce cases before his court

Herald Leader - June 4, 2016
Tom Eblen

“All rise!” the bailiff commands as Circuit Judge Tim Philpot takes his seat behind the bench for “motion hour” in Fayette County Family Court.

A dozen attorneys and their clients wait to be heard. The clients are average-looking people from many walks of life. But something is broken in each of their lives, or else they wouldn’t be here.

Most are fighting about custody of their children, cases complicated by old grudges, new girlfriends and boyfriends, new jobs, financial problems or drug abuse. Some parents are divorced or divorcing; others have never been married.

As Philpot asks questions to sort out one family’s tangled circumstances, others in the courtroom can’t help but snicker, even though the story is more sad than funny.