FRANKFORT — On July 1, Kentucky law began to support joint custody with equal parenting time when families separate.
Lawmakers unanimously approved the new law, which research shows is best for children after divorce or separation.
The new law amends KRS 403.280, allowing a court to adopt a prior parental temporary custody agreement as the court’s temporary custody order. The new law also creates a temporary joint custody and equal parenting time presumption, provided each parent files an affidavit requesting his or her portion.
The equal parenting time presumption applies even if parents do not agree on a parenting schedule. The presumption does not apply if it creates a likelihood of abuse or neglect.
Existing child custody arrangements are not affected by the law change.
House Bill 492 was initiated by National Parents Organization and sponsored by Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, and Representatives Jason Petrie, R-Elkton, and Robby Mills, R-Henderson.
Gov. Matt Bevin signed the bill and mailed the pen, along with a hand-signed copy of the law, to Matt Hale of the National Parents Organization of Kentucky. Hale worked for four years to make shared parenting the law in Kentucky.
Sen. John Schickel praised Hale during the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, calling him a fighter for Kentucky’s children. Bevin ceremonially re-signed the bill earlier this month to highlight the landmark nature of the new law.
“Children are now more likely to see both parents regularly after a divorce, which is a huge win for the children of Kentucky, considering research consistently shows shared parenting is in the best interest of children when their parents divorce,” Hale said.
“Plus, parents are no longer in the high-conflict winner-win-all and loser-lose-all situation.”
In celebrating the new law, Petrie called the law “landmark custody legislation.” He testified at House and Senate meetings on behalf of the bill. He was joined by Dr. Ryan Schroeder, chairman of the University of Louisville Sociology Department, and Hale.