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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  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.

  2. Janet says:

    Congratulations to all the lawmakers who took this step to help parents and their children. Truely hope ALL states follow Kentucky and do what is best for children.

    • Michelle ash says:

      I’m a person who has been thru this 50/50 as a child. These law givers need to be getting their opinions from some folks who have suffered thru this mess . My mother had to work two jobs and had limited time we me and my brother . My dad , the one who “wanted his time “ got off at 3 everyday and took full advantage of it . Plus weesled his way out of support. From my first hand experience kids need a stable foundation to give them security . Going from house to house one week here and one week there is best for the parent who wants to get back at the other parent , not for the children. Mothers rights are just as important as fathers ! And I’m not the mother speaking up here , I’m not the adult kid who went thru this mess they say is “best for the child “ . The court system doesn’t know what’s best for anyone’s child.

  3. Michelle says:

    This law and the celebration of it blows my mind. How can anyone think that a young child especially a child under school age would benefit from being uprooted every week between two households ? Apparently the studies showing the unhealthy disconnect between mother and child when these long durations of time pass and feelings of desertion or sadness flood a child’s heart and mind have been left unstudied . Children need a place called home , a steady secure foundation. The child is jerked around and has to readjust constantly , in many ways . This way which ever parent pays child support will take advantage of this “great law” . Where’s the mothers voice in this situation? How can a court determine what’s best for anyone’s child? God created the mother to be the nurturer and care giver . Looks like the law is working as hard as it can to take the mothers rights away in the name of ” what’s best for the child”. I was tossed about like this between homes . Kids in this situation learn to put walls up, hide their true feelings and play the game to keep parents happy . As far as it aiding in preventing the parents from pitting one against another …. This doesn’t and won’t stop that. Just because shared parenting time looks good on paper doesn’t mean it’s the ideal situation in real life . Funny you don’t see any pictures of the kids with the mothers joyfully enjoying the children they gave birth to when these wonderful laws are passed. A working mother , who usually makes less than the father gets robbed of her time because she’s forced to work more hours to make ends meet . My mother had to work two jobs but my dad got off at three everyday and guess who got more time? When mothers speak up for their children in these situations their bashed for speaking out about their love for their children and automatically scolded about how the fathers being cheated . New law or old law , one week here and one week there for children of divorce isn’t the answer. I lived it , I know . My dad could’ve come to visit us instead of us having to pack up every week , miss out on things at home in the name of him getting his time. You law makers need to be standing in a parking lot when the child is clinging to or crying for mama and the mother is forced to push her child away cause the LAW says this is what’s best for the child . Really ? Even when parents remain married and raise children together , it’s a given , for the most part the mother carries the household duties and spends the majority of her time with the children but as soon as divorce takes place , now equal time is supposed to be implemented ? Everyone has a different story but in my experience 50/50 kept me from feeling grounded and secure and robbed me of a more normal life like other kids, made me feel like an outcast and feel helpless . The holidays were nightmares , and birthdays were ruined , cause after all gotta make sure dad gets his 50% of your time or your cheating him. Children are not benefiting from this terrible law .

  4. Michelle ash says:

    Correction. I I am now the adult, child who went through the 50-50

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