For divorced parents in Kentucky, joint custody is the default decision. What this means is that there is legal presumption for joint custody. In a case where two parents are to fight for custody of a child, the presumption is that the two will have shared custody.
According to the Courier Journal, in the past, one parent became the primary custodian. The non-custodial parent had limited time with the child. Child custody battles often end as battles do, with one person winning the fight. Now, there are considerations to this law that can alter whether shared custody is doable.
The Kentucky Law Journal states that the decision still has to be in the best interests of the child. A child also has a say in who he or she wishes to be his or her primary guardian. The courts will go as far as to investigate the child’s wishes to determine if one parent has had an influence in his or her decision. In addition to a child’s wishes, if a parent has a domestic violence conviction, he or she is not eligible for shared custody. Joint and equal custody does not stand if one parent is a risk or danger to the child or other parent.
The joint custody presumption adheres to research that children have the best outcomes when they have two active parental figures. If a child has the opportunity to interact with both parents on an equal playing field, then he or she may adjust more positively to the change. Kentucky is the first and only state to enact such a law.