The Kentucky legislature recently amended KRS § 403.270(2) to create a presumption of joint parenting in custody cases. The amended statute reads:

“There shall be a presumption, rebuttable by a preponderance of the evidence, that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child. If a deviation from equal parenting time is warranted, the court shall construct a parenting time schedule which maximizes the time each parent or de facto custodian has with the child and is consistent with enduring the child’s welfare.”[1]

After passing by a sweeping majority through the House and Senate, the amended statute will allow for a greater inquiry into the best interest of the child. Allowing both mother and father to have joint custody and equally shared parenting time will reduce the amount of initial conflict within custody proceedings and allow for a better assessment by the courts of the child’s best interests.  As McCracken County Family Court Judge Deanna Henschel told WPSD-Local 6, she believes that for some judges, “it will be a big change to go, because they still do the standard visitation every other weekend for most of their cases.”[2] Despite whichever method a judge may have previously adopted in awarding custody, the new enactment’s presumption will allow clients a more impartial determination of custody and ward against any predispositions which may influence the court.

[1] Amended KRS 403.270(2), stemming from House Bill 528, signed by Governor Bevin on April 26th, 2018

[2] WPSD-Local 6, http://www.wpsdlocal6.com/2018/05/01/new-kentucky-law-forces-joint-custody-default/