One of the biggest issues parents often face in a divorce is child custody. Many wonder how their time is going to split or which parent is going to be awarded more custody over the other.  In most divorce cases filed in Kentucky, one parent is generally awarded primary custody over their children resulting in the other parent only receiving a limited amount of time to spend with their kids. However, that will soon be changing as Gov. Matt Bevin just signed a new bill into law that will take effect beginning July 2018.

The new bill states that separating parents will automatically receive joint custody of their children. According to WFPL, “Kentucky is the first state in the country to create a “legal presumption” for joint custody in divorce proceedings.” Those in favor of the bill say that it will encourage a more stable upbringing of children. Matt Hale, who is chair of the National Parents Organization in Kentucky says that the current law “deprives children of meaningful relationships with their parents.” He also said that by awarding one parent the primary custody, it often resulted in the exclusion of a fit parent who merely became a “visitor” in their child’s life.

The new law will require “judges to use joint legal custody as a starting point and then consider factors like proximity of a child to their school and current home and likelihood a parent will allow a child to have “frequent, meaningful, and continuing contact” with the other parent.” Critics who oppose the bill say that “it unravels protection against abusive parents and makes it much harder for a judge to give one parent more time with children than the other.” But, the source points out that the “law preludes joint custody if one of the parents has filed a domestic violence protective order against the other at some point during the relationship.”

Again, critics came back and stated that there are still “several instances in which an abusive parent could be granted joint custody under the new law.” For instance, “if a domestic violence order was never filed or granted at the time of the custody proceeding, or if a violent act was committed against someone besides their spouse or child.” Another issue presented was that this law “takes away discretion from judges tasked with determining a child’s best interest.”

Because many lawmakers and individuals with children feel that the current law doesn’t favor joint custody, this new law was created and approved, and you will begin seeing it being implemented in just a few weeks. The final version of it was passed out of the state legislature with only two lawmakers who voted against it.

Now, if you are someone who is preparing to file for divorce in Louisville, Kentucky, although by default you will be awarded joint custody, it is important that you are represented by a skilled Louisville, KY divorce lawyer. the reason being is that your partner could potentially fight for primary custody and stand a good chance at it if he/she has retained a divorce attorney of their own. So, to ensure you receive a favorable outcome, contact and let us connect you with some of the best lawyers in KY who practice in family law today.