Judge orders mediation in Richie Farmer divorce case

Candidate's wife wanted trial date set

jbrammer@herald-leader.comJuly 13, 2011 

Richie Farmer

FRANKFORT — A judge ordered mediation in Rebecca Farmer's divorce case against Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, ignoring pleas by Rebecca Farmer's attorney to set a trial date.

Franklin Family Court Judge Squire Williams said the couple must participate in mediation within 30 days.

Throughout the brief hearing, Rebecca Farmer's attorney, Brian A. Logan of Frankfort, told the judge his client was ready to proceed and "wanted to get the matter resolved."

Logan said that Rebecca Farmer filed the lawsuit in April and that Richie Farmer's schedule will get more crowded in coming months with this fall's election. Farmer, a former University of Kentucky basketball star from Clay County, is a candidate for lieutenant governor on the gubernatorial ticket of Republican David Williams.

Logan said his client is concerned that the trial might not be held until late this year or early next year.

Richie Farmer's attorney, Richard M. Guarnieri of Frankfort, said it would be better for the judge to wait to schedule a trial.

Judge Williams said he was aware of Farmer's campaign schedule but would not change the court's practice of requiring mediation.

After the hearing, Guarnieri said the parties now will exchange their financial information and participate in mediation, a meeting of the parties and their attorneys with a mediator in an attempt to get the case resolved.

After mediation, a request may be made to the court for a trial date, he said.

Guarnieri would not predict what might happen in mediation.

"I've been in a lot of cases I didn't think were going to be resolved and they did, and a lot of cases I thought they were going to be resolved and they didn't, so you just never know," he said. "I wouldn't want to speculate."

Asked whether Richie Farmer wants reconciliation, Guarnieri said, "That's between him and his wife."

Richie Farmer will continue campaigning for the Nov. 8 election as he works through the divorce case, Guarnieri said.

"In everybody's case, they've got their personal lives and legal matters," he said. "You've got to try to blend those two things together, so we're going to work through this case, and he's doing his election stuff, and we will see how all that goes."

Logan was not available for comment after the hearing.

Rebecca Farmer, 37, filed for divorce on April 5, two days after the couple separated.

She has given no reason for the filing in court documents but has claimed that Farmer "has limited her access to the parties' finances" and that the only money she has comes from her net monthly income of less than $1,100 as a teacher's aide in the Franklin County school system.

Richie Farmer, 41, has responded in court that he disagrees with her statements that their marriage of 13 years cannot be reconciled and that she should have custody and control of their three children.

Farmer makes $110,346 a year as state agriculture commissioner.

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