FRANKFORT — State Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer made his first legal response Tuesday to his estranged wife's divorce petition.
In his response to Rebecca Farmer's suit in Franklin Circuit Court, Richie Farmer said he disagrees with her statements that their marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be reconciled and that she should have custody and control of their three children.
Farmer, a former University of Kentucky basketball star who is running for lieutenant governor on the Republican ticket of gubernatorial candidate David Williams, asked for her petition to be dismissed.
If the petition is not dismissed, he said, the judge should assign to him all of his non-marital property and equitably divide all of their marital property and debt. Richie Farmer is being represented by Frankfort attorney Richard M. Guarnieri.
The judge also should grant the estranged couple joint custody of their three children with a reasonable time-sharing schedule, Farmer said.
Rebecca Farmer's attorney, Brian A. Logan of Frankfort, could not be reached for comment. Guarnieri declined to elaborate on Richie Farmer's legal response.
Logan said earlier in the day before Richie Farmer filed his response that he would not be commenting on details of the case.
No hearing date has been set for the divorce suit.
Logan said Tuesday morning after a brief appearance in Franklin Family Court that he will coordinate with Richie Farmer's attorney to set a hearing date.
Neither Richie Farmer nor Rebecca Farmer attended the court proceeding held by Judge Squire Williams III.
The judge could be heard telling Logan during the proceeding "to get your all's heads together."
Logan declined to say how his client is faring. He did say Farmer had been served with the divorce suit by certified mail.
Rebecca Farmer, 37, gave no reason for the divorce in court documents she filed April 5, two days after the couple separated.
But she claimed in an affidavit that Richie Farmer, 41, "has limited her access to the parties' finances" and that the only money she has access to comes from her net monthly income of less than $1,100 as a teacher's aide in the Franklin County public school system.
Rebecca Farmer said she was a "a stay-at-home mom" for their three sons during 12 of their 13 years of marriage.
Asked if Rebecca Farmer filed for divorce for any reason other than finances, Logan said, "I'm not going to comment."
Richie Farmer makes $110,346 a year as agriculture commissioner. He has asked for privacy in the case "for her sake and for the sake of our three children."
Rebecca Farmer is seeking primary custody of the children with reasonable visitation rights for their father.
She also is asking that Farmer pay child support, household expenses and attorney fees. She mentioned the need for $5,000 to retain an attorney.