A new law in Kentucky now mandates that shared parenting by parents in a divorce is presumed to be in the best interests of the children, and it “encourages” equal parenting time and shared custody. Under the new law, judges must start the consideration of each custody case with the presumption that joint custody and equally-shared parenting time are the best outcome for the children, and then they can consider other factors, such as whether each parent has a history of domestic violence or whether each parent is fit for parenting, before deciding whether joint custody is appropriate. http://www.wpsdlocal6.com/2018/05/01/new-kentucky-law-forces-joint-custody-default/
The presumption is that both parents are fit and that shared parenting time is in the best interests of the children. The burden appears to be shifted to require proof by a preponderance of the evidence that equal parenting time is not in the best interests of the children. This type of proof may be the history of violence or inattention, the distance from the school, the existing relationships between the parents and the children, and the likelihood that the custodial parent will allow frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with the other parent. Draft language of KRS 403.270
While some of these factors are taken into consideration in most custody cases in Georgia, it is refreshing to see legislation in another state that so directly addresses the outcome for the children. We will be following the implementation of this new law in Kentucky starting this summer. The language of the statute, even though it is not the law in Georgia, may well start appearing in custody pleadings filed in Georgia by attorneys seeking shared parenting time because it sets forth a common sense approach to this essential consideration.