Since taking office Jan. 2, Durenda Lundy Lawson has been working to set up her chambers in the courthouse annex and getting ready to take her share of cases from circuit court docket.

The 26th Judicial Circuit’s (Laurel and Knox counties) new family court judge will be taking cases involving divorce, child custody, child support, visitation, paternity, adoption, domestic violence, child abuse dependency and neglect, termination of parental rights, truancy and children beyond the reasonable control of parents or school. For the former domestic relations commissioner, serving Knox County since 2002 and Laurel County since 2004, it is business as usual.

“There really haven’t been any big changes except the robe and the time involved, Lawson said. “I’m in court every day. It has been a little bit of a transition, but I’m really excited.”

Lawson said she is taking the family part of her title seriously. Her first duty is to the families, especially, the children that come before her. Lawson had said her guiding force on the bench will be to do what is in the best interest of the children.

During her swearing in ceremony, Retired Circuit Judge Louis Hopper, who appointed Lawson to the domestic relations commissioner position, crediting her for her dedication while serving in that position. Hopper said he was confident that will continue during her tenure on the bench.

Lawson’s cases will come from those previously assigned to both circuit and district courts, freeing up space on those dockets for the other judges. Since the legislature approved the establishment of family courts, the circuit courts in 42 Kentucky counties include a family court. There are plans to implement Family Court in all 120 counties within 10 years of the passage of the amendment, as funding allows.

Lawson said, right now, she has no aspirations to move up on the judicial ladder to a higher court. Her focus is on her new position.

“She (Lawson) has a long and distinguished career ahead of her,” Hopper said. “As commissioner she was excellent. Anyone who has or will appear before her will get a fair and impartial decision.”

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