Residents of Kentucky involved in a divorce, paternity action or other ongoing child custody issue should be aware of the trend toward shared parenting time. In the past, it was common for a court to award custody to one parent, usually the mother, subject to the right of parenting time with the other parent. Usually, the visitation ordered is one or two nights per week.
However, courts are now starting to learn toward ordering shared parenting, which aims to divvy out custody equally. Though more women are in the workforce than ever, a traditional visitation schedule where the mother is the primary caretaker can hinder the ability for career advancement. A more flexible shared parenting-time schedule allows her extra time for work, career education and job-related networking.
Separated and divorced fathers who are often limited in the amount of time spent with their children may welcome the trend. Additionally, a number of psychological studies have confirmed that in most instances, children benefit more from additional time spent with each parent.
Recent changes in Kentucky family law have reflected a change in the traditional parenting arrangement and the shift to a shared visitation agreement. A bill changing how judges must view parenting time passed unanimously in both the Senate and the House and was signed by the Governor in April.
Effective July 1, all new temporary child custody orders shall have a presumption that shared legal custody and equal parenting time is in the best interests of the child. The presumption can be overcome by a preponderance of evidence. Instances that deviate from the presumption will need to be heard on a case-by-case basis. If one is in the process of a separation or divorce involving minor children, they may want to consult with a family law attorney.