Kentucky Shared Parenting Law Goes into Effect


  • The state of Kentucky unanimously passes a bill, creating a temporary joint custody and equal parenting time presumption.
  • This bill fosters a 50/50 equal opportunity for both parents.
  • This is negated in cases of abuse or neglect.

When it comes to child custody, visitation, and parenting time, preconceived perceptions of who should spend what days with whom have no place in deciding the outcome. The courts need to make a decision on which home suits the child more, based on the child’s individual needs.

Many parents are not able to spend time with their children, because of the notion that the ex-wife should always receive custody of the child because they are believed to be always capable of providing a stable and nurturing home. That is not always the case, and courts that believe this to be true can cause irreparable damage to the children they decide upon, as well as their families.

House Bill 492

The state of Kentucky is attempting to fix some of the problems in the child custody system pertaining to the time a child is able to spend with both parents. The bill, House Bill 492, was introduced February 10, 2017 in the Kentucky state House, and it creates a temporary joint custody and equal parenting time presumption, if each parent files an affidavit requesting his or her portion, according to The Daily Independent. This does not apply in the likelihood of neglect or abuse.

This primarily affects temporary child custody orders, which are the starting point for many divorces that have children involved in them, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.

This law went into effect July 1, after receiving overwhelming support in the Kentucky state House and Senate, where it was unanimously voted in favor of in April.

Previous law

House Bill 492 amends KRS 403.280, which dealt with temporary custody orders. Aside what has previously been mentioned about the addendum, the original bill also stated that if a proceeding for dissolution of a marriage or a legal separation was dismissed, any temporary custody order were vacated unless a parent or the child’s custodian moved that the proceeding continued as a custody proceeding and the court found, after a hearing, that the circumstances of the parents and the best interests of the child required that a custody decree be issued.

KRS 403.280 also included clauses that stated that if a custody proceeding commenced in the absence of a petition for dissolution of a marriage or legal separation is dismissed, any temporary custody order is vacated and that if a court determined by clear and convincing evidence that a person was a de facto custodian, the court shall join that person in the action, as a party needed for just adjudication.

Helping dads

House Bill 492 helps foster a perception that many state officials believed did not exist before: that when you enter a court room with your Kentucky-based attorney seeking 50/50 shared custody, you have the same chances as your co-parent in achieving that goal.

State Representative Robby Mills sponsored the bill and found that the bill spoke to many fathers facing an uphill battle in their fights for shared custody, according to USA Today. He said that they contacted him and felt as though they started out their case at below 50 percent of custody. He said that there are really good dads out there who go to court with no sorts of strikes against them and only receive 30 percent of custody.

Mills stated that the 50/50 temporary parenting and custody law is just until permanent custody is ironed out, but that they eventually wanted to look into a similar permanent custody law.

Putting children first

This type of law can really add to a father’s ability to show that he can provide just as nurturing and stable of a home, as a mother can. Ending those stereotypes and false perceptions creates a healthier conversation about what it means to be a parent after divorce. These types of laws also help protect children from greater conflicts that may occur during the divorce.

By setting the assumption of 50/50 joint custody and equal parenting time in temporary custody orders, children have less of an opportunity from being exposed to a parent who may attempt to turn their child against the opposite parent. In addition, spending time with both parents separately will help them transition and deal with the changes occurring in their life.

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