In June, Kentucky will become the first state to require a presumption of equally shared parenting in child-custody cases even when one or more parents is opposed. While it’s common for states to prefer joint custody when both parents are amenable, Kentucky’s presumption will apply even without divorcing parents on board. This is a major breakthrough in developing a parenting plan that is often difficult and expensive to come by in family law Courts in California and across the United States.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed the measure in April, declaring that judges must presume “that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child” in almost all divorce cases. Last year, Kentucky required the same presumption for temporary child-custody cases while divorce is pending. Again, for a state to implement such a broad and powerful message to family law courts across America and Kentucky is quite outstanding. Custody is often so tumultuous to fight in court that to add a presumption of 50/50 without any fighting in court is really setting a different type of family law custody standard now.
Exceptions exist for situations “involving an incident of domestic violence within the preceding three years” or where “there has been a domestic violence order entered” or being entered. Obviously when there is violence the joint custody presumption must be sidelined in order to keep the child safe from any potential violence or abuse.