Custody matters have almost always had a negative connotation. The stereotypical custody case becomes a battle between the parents with little attention to the heart of the matter: the children.
In modern times, though, custody is becoming less about the parents and more about the kids. Courts rarely care how parents feel about arrangements because they care far more about how the situation will impact the children. In Kentucky, according to WFPL, the standard approach to child custody is that parents will share duties in a joint custody arrangement.
The law in the state changed to reflect this new attitude towards child custody matters in 2018. Lawmakers felt that the best situation for every child is generally to have equal time with each parent. So, the law mandates that all judges begin by assuming a joint custody arrangement in every case.
There are some circumstances where joint custody will not work or should not be the chosen method. In situations where there is documented abuse, a judge has the ability to forego joint custody. In addition, a judge can consider how the arrangement will work in a practical way, such as whether it will cause a hardship to get the children to school.
Some people are against the legislation because the only exception for a joint custody assumption is a recorded history of domestic violence. Those opposing the law say that it allows abusive parents who have flown below the radar more access to children and that it does not permit a judge to do what is in the best interest of a child in many other situations.
Supporters point out, though, that the law does allow a judge some objectivity when assessing the overall circumstances. A judge still has the ability to make other custody arrangements if joint custody is not feasible for the parents.