Parents in Kentucky who decide to separate may have fewer choices to make when it comes to child custody decisions, which are often difficult and painful. WFPL 89.3 reported on the joint custody bill when it first passed in 2018. 

If you and your spouse only recently made the decision to separate or divorce, you may want to understand the details of this joint custody law and what it entails. 

Joint custody is presumptive

When you and your spouse separate, Kentucky law states that you and your ex-partner will raise any children born of your union jointly. This default law, which is the first of its kind in the United States, removes several custody questions from divorce proceedings, such as: 

  • Which parent gets primary custody  
  • Which parent is more “fit” to raise a child  
  • Complicated child custody scheduling  

Overall, this law means to simplify the question of child custody after a separation or divorce and give children the chance to spend equal amounts of time with both parents. 

Judges may refine the law

While this law states that joint custody is now the default in Kentucky, any state judge may use the law as a starting point for refining matters based on individual cases. For example, if you or your spouse decide to move a fair distance away from your child’s current home during a trial separation, the judge might consider adjustments to the law so the child’s home and school life do not have to change drastically. 

The Kentucky joint custody law may not apply to all cases. Individuals who have filed protective orders against their spouses are typically not bound to all its measures.