A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

National Parents Organization applauds KY’s progress on shared parenting; new law effective Saturday

Kentucky’s new shared parenting law, HB528, a bill stating equal parenting time is best for children, will take effect on Saturday, July 14.

The law change is historic locally and nationally, as with the change, Kentucky leads the nation in protecting children’s best interests when parents divorce or separate, according to the National Parents Organization, a nonprofit that advocates for shared parenting.

In a written statement, Gov. Bevin said of the new law: “HB 528 promotes shared parenting as a starting point following divorce cases. The aim is to reduce unnecessary custody battles while also factoring in clearly defined exceptions.  This common-sense legislation is another example of how Kentucky is leading the way in the protection and care of our young people.”

Bevin signed the new law April 26, and the law will take effect July 14.
“What an exciting time for the children of Kentucky! We know from an abundance of research as well as our own experiences that children desperately want and need both parents, and our state laws will finally align with this reality. We can now say with confidence that Kentucky is a family-friendly state,” said Matt Hancock of National Parents Organization of Kentucky.

Jason Petrie and Kevin Bratcher were the primary sponsors with nine additional cosponsors. The legislation passed 81-2 in the Kentucky House, and it passed 38-0 in the Kentucky Senate.

While a handful of states have laws supporting shared parenting and about 25 states have considered similar reform in the past year, Kentucky’s new law goes the furthest by establishing a “presumption, rebuttable by a preponderance of evidence, that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child.”

This means only fit parents will receive shared parenting. For instance, parents with a domestic violence finding will not qualify for equal parenting time.

While Kentucky now leads the nation in shared parenting, just a few years ago it was one of the worst states in this area. In 2014, Kentucky received a D- on National Parents Organization’s Shared Parenting Report Card, which graded each state on its shared parenting laws.

A year ago, Kentucky took the first step toward shared parenting by passing a law that created a presumption of shared parenting in temporary custody orders.

“Looking back, it’s been a hard, long road to climb. But it’s all worth it because it’s best for kids,” said National Parents Organization of Kentucky’s Jason Griffith. 

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One Comment

  1. Matt Hale says:

    This is great new law. Congratulations to all the lawmakers who took this step to help children. Governor Bevin’s comment is right on the money too.

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