Kentucky’s New Equal Parenting Law- What You Need To Know

The Laws They Are A’ Changin

Four days ago, the Kentucky Legislature passed HB 528 and sent it to Governor Bevin to sign. If Governor Bevin signs this, which is very likely, drastic changes are coming to our Kentucky Child Custody laws.

This change would make a Family Court presume, when deciding custody, that it is in a child’s best interest to spend equal time with both parents, unless that is absolutely not a possibility. It allows parents who do not have equal parenting time to petition the court for equal parenting time.

Currently, KRS 403.270 , only one of four laws to be amended, speaks in terms of the best interest of a child and clearly supports the idea that one party will win custody and one party will not.

According to HB 528, here’s what will also be amended:

KRS 403.280 to specify that the presumption of joint custody and equal parenting time is in the best interest of the child;

amend KRS 403.320 to allow a parent not granted custody or shared parenting time to petition for reasonable visitation rights;

amend KRS 403.340 to specify that if a court modifies a custody decree there is a rebuttable presumption that it is in the best interest of the child for the parents to have joint custody and equally shared parenting time.

Yup, things are about to change. And I believe I have enough experience to say it’s for the better.

So what does that mean for most of you?

First of all, for a comprehensive article explaining current KY Custody laws, check out this guide from Wolfe & Houlehan in Lexington. They took the time to explain all of the buzzwords and concepts that underlie current KY custody law. Thanks for doing the hard work, guys!

Dads, if you have a child that you only see every other weekend and that you pay child support for, consider petitioning the Court for equal parenting time. Your child support will be adjusted down (although that’s not the reason why you should want more time with your kids).

Moms, if you are used to being the “primary residential custodian” you will likely remain so, with the chance that fathers who are able may petition for more visitation time with their kids.

For parents who are just now being taken to Family Court for a custody determination, or are considering taking the other parent to Family Court to consider custody, know that if both of you are fit (not on drugs or other problems) and both live in the same general location, you’re going to be sharing custody.

Time to get along!

I’ll be sharing lots of stories, articles, thoughts and tips on how to survive and love equal parenting.

I will also be watching for updates on HB 528 and posting them here– subscribe if you want to know too!

22 Comments

  1. I have had an equal timeshare arrangement for a year. My son is 2 and we exchange weekly. I live in Hopkinsville and his dad lives in Lexington. How can we make it work when he starts school? The judge recommended I move to Lexington since his dad owns his own business, but I have another child and my family is here. I also could not afford to move. Do you expect this to impact programs like K-Tap? Any recommendations?

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  2. I am a guardian she can’t be with her mom but she can see her dad and he will not leave her mom is there a chance she will get her back being on Suboxone

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    1. Are you involved in a case with social services, Shelly? Is the child placed with you through DCBS or are you a guardian without social services involved?

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  3. I don’t agree with this art all. Because my son’s father has not seen him in 3 years, hasn’t called him, missed his birthdays everything. He has not been a dad to him at all!!! Has not paid any support for my son, dove nothing for my son. And your telling me that if my son’s dad wanted to her could take me to court to get time with him, and to lower the support. Well I’m sorry I for news for him and the state, THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. I don’t have allot of money, butt I would very a dang good lawyer and fight till I’m dead. Like the old saying goes, “It takes a true man to be a father”, and that is something I believe in.
    I’ve been mother and father to my son for 10 years, his dad made his choice.
    I’ve tried going through the courts to grey him to pay support, but like always that’s bull crap a well. They tell me that they can’t find him to serve him the papers, well I have. So excuse me if I have no faith in government any more. They have lied to me for a year ago I won’t hold my breath.

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      1. Like I said, the system sucks and they will never do what’s best for the child. It’s up to the parent that is there to protect them and love them.

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  4. What about the biological fathers who have never paid child support and never even contact the child. My daughter is terrified of him and even sees a therapist because of her fears of him. He owes me $14,000 in arrearages and refuses to pay a penny. He is strung out on drugs and lives in a camper with no running water or lights. He even went in front of a judge and willingly signed full legal guardianship to my husband, with no hesitation. My current husband now is the one who supports her loves her and has for 4 years now. He wants to adopt her and she wants the same. But he refuses to sign his rights away. For what reason I do not know, cause he has no contact with her at all and doesn’t even try to have a relationship with her!! My daughter is ashamed to have her biological fathers last name. What about those kids? It cost so much to do the adoption process, that it is ridiculous! So, answer me this, what happens with these helpless kids?

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    1. Hi Alisha- I’m so sorry that you are going through it with what sounds to be a deadbeat dad. Deadbeat parents DO exist, both moms and dads. Abusive, addicted, narcissistic parents are all too prevalent in our society.

      Unfortunately, your situation is not one where equal parenting is an option. Obviously, there are other strategies and ways to ensure (at the very least) your daughter’s safety by making sure

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  5. Sorry – I accidentally hit post without finishing reply. Anyway, it is possible to even get visits suspended for parents who are unfit or might endanger your daughter.

    As far as child support is concerned, he can be put in jail in KY for being over $1000 behind in child support, but that’s not always helpful. You can’t get blood from a turnip, after all. But you can get his wages garnished.

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  6. What if the dad dont pay childsuport even though he supposed to and is thousands behind and he dont even show up when he supposed to now, its good for the dads that try but now your going to have alot of dads to do this just to get the child support cheaper why doing so it takes time away from her mother that actually cares about her and supported her the whole time without the help of the childs dad there should be rules only way the mom or the dad should be able to do this is if they are caught up on child support and actually got the child on his or her week like they was supposed to before this law was passed

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      1. More or less the law is making the other parent be involve with the child whether our not they want to. And how is that any good for the child.

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      2. No, Crystal – it isn’t a mandatory thing. It’s more along the lines of allowing a parent the CHANCE to receive equal time IF they want that opportunity. A request to modify or establish parenting time/custody is most likely something that requires the assistance of an attorney. A paid attorney (like myself 😌) . This not only means that it will take money, but also emotional energy and time.

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  7. I think that this law is crap. I believe that a child needs a place to call home, not 2 homes. Kids struggle enough with life…now lets add more transition to their life. Kids will be missing mom…then missing dad…..leaving things everywhere..forgeting homework….etc. Maybe if they start at an early age..but I still think it leads ro more inability. I mean…who wants to pack up and go to a different home every week.

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  8. It sounds like this law is making strides in the right direction for parents. So far most of the conversation seems to be from people that have DNA donators, not active parents involved in their children’s lives. This law is saying both parents have equal rights one doesn’t automatically win if they’re no longer a legal couple which is how it should always have been. Right now it is assumed somebody will be the primary, and it is a uphill battle to fight for joint custody – this is just going to flip that dynamic – it will be assumed you will be joint parents, and you’ll have to fight to take the rights away from one of them. If you’re not involved in your children’s life you’re not a parent and therefore wouldn’t be granted equal parenting rights. In my opinion the majority of parents will benefit from this law.

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  9. What if the father is filling to fake a mental disorder to get out of paying child support and still wants equal time with kids? I just know someone who does this and gets away with it.

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  10. My ex husband got full custody in September of 2017 he told the court I was mentally unstable we didn’t even go to court his lawyer went for him..he has it to where I get visitation in the divorce papers.but I’ve actually been getting the kids every Thursday 4-8 and every Sunday 10-9 since thanksgiving of last year.
    He told me if I didn’t sign the papers then I wouldn’t be able to see the kids at all..so how would this help my situation?

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  11. Hello.. I am a full time father for both of my children… their mother is doing better btw and off of those drugs that consumed her for most of her life… I never kept them from her when I felt she was clean…anywho she’s out of drug rehab which like I said she is doing better but she has to pay child support and she is now wanting to split costudy and me do all the driving plus me pay for all their personal stuff (like school pictures, school supplies, etc) and screaming in the same breath that I’m a worthless father…I have had them for their whole life’s (they are 6-7 years of age) and I was paying child support on them while she had dipped out to do her drugs even though the court seen me for several months… they asked where she was at which she was never in the same place more than a day(even though she was still drawing food stamps and my child support money) she’s been clean nearly 2 years in November…so I’m just wondering how would that work… if she would get split custody than maybe I should get back the child support I paid on them for nearly a year while I still had them full-time.

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  12. Think of the child’s life being disrupted going back and forth so much especially when in school. Also, the parents that don’t really want the child but just wants to get at the other parent so fights for visitation and doesn’t even spend it with the child. Always has someone else taking care of the child (half ass). Think maybe that’s why so many children act out and have issues?

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