North Augusta mother wants to change divorce laws

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A North Augusta mother wants to change divorce laws in South Carolina.

Karyn Young, who now goes by her maiden name Grace, is the mother of two young boys who were killed by their father.

Authorities say Terry Young drowned his two boys and then shot himself.

Grace and Young were in the middle of a divorce. Current law requires a couple be separated for one year before the divorce is final.

Now one representative from our area wants to change that, and wonders if the young boys would still be alive today if the law had been different.

"Ms. Young and I feel like if…she had been able to get a divorce earlier, this situation…[would] have been a lot better in long run," says Don Smith, Republican representative for South Carolina House District 83.

Right now, the only grounds for immediate divorce are desertion, infidelity, and physical cruelty. Rep. Smith wants to add mental cruelty.

"That would be what I consider mental abuse if you would. It has nothing to do with physical abuse itself, but the fact that you are perhaps threatened, intimidated or coerced into doing things you don't want to do."

Rep. Smith says Karyn Grace approached him about changing the current South Carolina law.

The bill would be named after her boys.

"Ms. Young feels that would be a good idea, she actually suggested that and we all concur that it would be a great idea," says Rep. Smith.

"Ms. Young is wanting to do this not for anything that happened with her boys, not to gain any spite or anything of that nature, but she simply is trying to set a trail so that this same type of thing won't happen again. Maybe the next family won't have to go through what she's gone through."

Representative Smith will meet with South Carolina governor Mark Sanford in a couple of weeks to talk about the proposed bill.

He hopes to have it passed by the end of this legislative session at the beginning of June.