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Divorce: Kentucky parents benefit from new shared custody law

Prior to Governor Matt Bevin signing House Bill 492 into law on April 12, it was common for child custody to be awarded to one parent in Kentucky. One of the two parents typically had to fight for shared custody after divorce. However, many parents are benefiting from the new law that presumes joint custody. Under the new law, custodial arrangements are automatically divided equally, except under certain circumstances.

Naturally, there will be exceptions in cases where the court determines that shared custody might not be in the best interests of the child. This could involve cases in which abuse, neglect or alcohol and drug dependencies are present. In most cases, though, the law in intended to allow parents to share equal parenting time without having to go to court.

According to the chairman of the National Parents Organization in Kentucky, this law benefits both parents and children. It is a known fact that children who have the love and attention of both parents -- even when divorced -- are better equipped to develop into well-adjusted adults. While the new law allows parent-child relationships to continue post divorce, it also avoids high legal bills.

Kentucky parents whose divorces were finalized before the signing of the new law and therefore are missing out on parenting time may benefit from consulting with an experienced divorce attorney. A lawyer can assess the circumstances, and if there is nothing to prevent that parent from sharing custody, steps can be taken to petition the court for joint custody. The attorney can explain the process and provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the legal proceedings.