A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

New shared custody legislation becomes law in Kentucky July 1, existing arrangements not impacted

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On July 1, Kentucky’s laws will begin supporting 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.

Gov. Bevin

Effective  Saturday, House Bill 492 becomes law. HB 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 National Parents Organization of Kentucky. Hale worked for four years to make shared parenting the law in Kentucky. Senator John Schickel praised Hale during the Senate Judiciary committee meeting calling him a fighter for Kentucky’s children. Further, Governor Bevin ceremonially resigned 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, Rep. Petrie called the law “landmark custody legislation.” Petrie testified at House and Senate meetings on behalf of the bill. He was joined by Dr. Ryan Schroeder, Chair of the University of Louisville Sociology department, and Hale.

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 the 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.

National Parents Organization, a charitable and educational 501 (c)(3) organization, is focused on promoting shared parenting and preserving a child’s strong bond with both parents. For, more information, click here.

National Parents Organization

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9 Comments

  1. Linda Wright says:

    Kentucky lawmakers have shown that they understand and value the enormous benefits children receive when able to have both of their parents equally. It really is so logical and simple when you put the natural rights of people and the real best interests of the children first over politics, special interests, and most of all money. Congratulations people of Kentucky. Hopefully the rest of the country, including Michigan, will follow step with the right way to protect their citizens. Thank you Matt Hale and National Parents Organization for your advocacy and dedication.

  2. Kevin says:

    This is a positive step forward for children and parents. The previous law put parents and kids in impossible positions, all to the financial benefit of the family law industry. Now parents who share custody and parenting time equally will still have legal recourse.

  3. Charlie Hurd says:

    Shared parenting works best for most children and parents. Thanks for this bill!

  4. Fatri Ibrahimi says:

    Congratulations to all children and parents in Kentucky !!

  5. Arley Derkach says:

    So does that existing custody agreement not change if you have one in place already?

  6. Joe says:

    I think this is great but I still don’t think it’s being implemented. I’ve been trying for 5 years to have equal time and always denied. no criminal record, 15 min from their mother, we get along, I’m extremely involved. It’s amazing that dads that want to be involved and bond with their children are denied.

  7. Tanya says:

    So dose this mean that if the kids are going to to. One parents as much as the other then there should be no child support right….and if so how do you get it stopped

  8. Rebecca says:

    I have witnessed first hand how my 15 month old grandson has been affected negatively by this law. It isn’t for everyone. My grandson’s father never helped financially with him and childsupport wasn’t set until April of this year. But as soon as he found out about this law he filed for joint custody and now takes my grandson and has whoever to watch him and now he pays ZERO support but doesn’t spend time truly getting to know him. Not always a win-win situation for the children! A dead beat parent gets a way with paying nothing and the child suffers drug back and forth. Not to mention staying sick from the stress. This law can fail many of our children!

  9. Anna says:

    I don’t work. I go to school 2 days a week for 3 hours and I recieve a monthly G.I. bill that pays,my bills and helps with my son. During the time I go to school my mother watches my 12 month old. His dad has never shown an interest in our son until he found out this new law. Never tended to him, never played with him. Only saw him twice a week for 3-4 hours at a time. Never had him over night until two weeks ago. Now I was just sent an order from his lawyer demanding 5050 custody and parenting time, offering no child support. He knows I make very little money. His work schedule is constantly changing. He gets up at 430 each morning, and if he gets what he is going for he will be getting himself and our son up before 4 am. My son goes to sleep at 8 pm and doesn’t get up until 730am. How is messing up his schedule what’s best for him? How is bringing him over to my house at 430 in the morning when he could spend the night and sleep through the night with his mother what is best for him? Essentially he is fighting to have our son overnight. I have offered to bring him over to his apartment when he gets off work as well as pick him up right before he goes to bed every single night of the week. I have offered every. Single. Day. Of. The. Week. He could see his son but only sees him when he has ‘the time.’ Oh amd he also works nights for weeks at a time without much notice at all. In fact, just this week and this past week he worked nights. How in the he’ll is there going to be a set parenting schedule when his work schedule is ALWAYS changing? How is this right? Please tell me. I’m waiting.

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