Originally created 02/22/06

Deaths lead to bill to alter divorce law

The plight of Karyn Grace, whose estranged husband killed her two sons and himself Jan. 8, has prompted Rep. Don Smith, R-North Augusta, to call for an expansion of the state's divorce law.

Mr. Smith said the former Karyn Young, who has taken her maiden name back, feels the tragedy might have been avoided had their divorce process not dragged out for so long, compounding the stress and turmoil. Ms. Grace claimed in early 2005 that her husband, Terry Lee Young, had been abusing diet pills and had threatened to harm her and to disappear with the children, but Family Court Judge Peter Nuessle dismissed the divorce on the grounds that the couple was still living together.

In South Carolina, a divorce can't be granted until the husband and wife have been living separately for one year - unless one can prove adultery, addiction, physical cruelty or desertion.

Mr. Smith said his bill would add mental cruelty to the list. He said he'll introduce it after he and Ms. Grace meet with Gov. Mark Sanford in the next two or three weeks.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.


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