Fayette Family Court Judge Tim Philpot plans to retire at the end of the year.
Philpot, 66, said he informed Frankfort last week of his plans to retire. A former state senator, he has been a family court judge for 14 years.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it,” Philpot said Monday. But he added, “I’ve got a lot of things I want to do with the rest of my life.”
Philpot said criticism he has received in recent years was not a factor in his decision to retire.
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In 2016, Philpot was in the spotlight after he told a religious organization in an address that gay marriage is an “oxymoron” like “jumbo shrimp” or “magnificent Chihuahua.”
The state Judicial Conduct Commission reprimanded Philpot in January for making divorcing couples with children take part in hearings to determine if their marriage was broken beyond repair, but not requiring such hearings for people without children.
Philpot told the Herald-Leader at the time he would hold such hearings for all couples.
“I am pleased that the Judicial Conduct Commission has publicly affirmed that hearings to determine whether a marriage is ‘irretrievably broken’ are permitted under Kentucky law for every divorce, not just those with minor children,” Philpot said in January.
Earlier this year, a Lexington physician, whose divorce Philpot handled, sued the judge over a novel that Philpot wrote. The physician claimed that a character in the novel represents him. The physician said the book libeled and defamed him, placed him in a false light and invaded his privacy. The suit is still pending in Ohio.
Philpot would not comment on the suit Monday but he said he hopes to write more novels in the future. “It’s a hobby for me,” he said.
A judicial nominating commission is accepting questionnaires from qualified people seeking to fill the vacancy opened by Philpot’s departure. The questionnaires are due to the commission by Dec. 5.
The commission will pick three nominees and Gov. Matt Bevin will select one to be Philpot’s successor.