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Is Equal Parenting Mandatory in Kentucky?

No.  Under the new Kentucky law, KRS 403.340, joint custody and equal parenting time is essentially a default.  Pursuant to statute, it is rebuttable, by a preponderance of evidence.  This is a artful legal term that can mean different things to different judges.

In my experience, joint custody and equal parenting has been the default for most family law judges for more than the past 10 years.  What has changed is (1) the standard, which prior to the new law was simply "best interest of the child" and (2) the perception by the general public.

In my opinion, it is also now much easier to speak to clients - especially mothers who believe that they own the children - in the default language and the burden of proof required to convince the court that joint custody and equal time is not in the children's best interest.

There are many cases which do not lend themselves to joint custody; those often include abuse of the children or domestic violence.  If one parent has been found to have abused or neglected the children, joint custody is not preferred.  Additionally, the new statute makes an exception to the presumption of joint custody if domestic violence has been found to occur.

If you have a divorce or custody case pending, inquire about the change in the law.  If you are in need of an attorney or consultation in Northern Kentucky, call Mike (859-581-MIKE) or email [email protected].  

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