A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

New shared custody legislation becomes law in Kentucky July 1, existing arrangements not impacted

On July 1, Kentucky’s laws will begin supporting joint custody with equal parenting time when families separate. Lawmakers unanimously approved the new law, which research shows is best for children after divorce or separation.

Gov. Bevin

Effective  Saturday, House Bill 492 becomes law. HB 492 was initiated by National Parents Organization and sponsored by Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne (R-Prospect) and Representatives Jason Petrie (R-Elkton) and Robby Mills (R-Henderson).

Gov. Matt Bevin signed the bill and mailed the pen, along with a hand-signed copy of the law, to Matt Hale of National Parents Organization of Kentucky. Hale worked for four years to make shared parenting the law in Kentucky. Senator John Schickel praised Hale during the Senate Judiciary committee meeting calling him a fighter for Kentucky’s children. Further, Governor Bevin ceremonially resigned the bill earlier this month to highlight the landmark nature of the new law.

“Children are now more likely to see both parents regularly after a divorce, which is a huge win for the children of Kentucky, considering research consistently shows shared parenting is in the best interest of children when their parents divorce,” Hale said. “Plus, parents are no longer in the high-conflict winner win all and loser lose all situation.”

In celebrating the new law, Rep. Petrie called the law “landmark custody legislation.” Petrie testified at House and Senate meetings on behalf of the bill. He was joined by Dr. Ryan Schroeder, Chair of the University of Louisville Sociology department, and Hale.

The new law amends KRS 403.280, allowing a court to adopt a prior parental temporary custody agreement as the court’s temporary custody order. The new law also creates a temporary joint custody and equal parenting time presumption provided each parent files an affidavit requesting his or her portion. The equal parenting time presumption applies even if the parents do not agree on a parenting schedule. The presumption does not apply if it creates a likelihood of abuse or neglect.

Existing child custody arrangements are not affected by the law change.

National Parents Organization, a charitable and educational 501 (c)(3) organization, is focused on promoting shared parenting and preserving a child’s strong bond with both parents. For, more information, click here.

National Parents Organization

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  1. Linda Wright says:

    Kentucky lawmakers have shown that they understand and value the enormous benefits children receive when able to have both of their parents equally. It really is so logical and simple when you put the natural rights of people and the real best interests of the children first over politics, special interests, and most of all money. Congratulations people of Kentucky. Hopefully the rest of the country, including Michigan, will follow step with the right way to protect their citizens. Thank you Matt Hale and National Parents Organization for your advocacy and dedication.

  2. Kevin says:

    This is a positive step forward for children and parents. The previous law put parents and kids in impossible positions, all to the financial benefit of the family law industry. Now parents who share custody and parenting time equally will still have legal recourse.

  3. Charlie Hurd says:

    Shared parenting works best for most children and parents. Thanks for this bill!

  4. Fatri Ibrahimi says:

    Congratulations to all children and parents in Kentucky !!

  5. Arley Derkach says:

    So does that existing custody agreement not change if you have one in place already?

  6. Joe says:

    I think this is great but I still don’t think it’s being implemented. I’ve been trying for 5 years to have equal time and always denied. no criminal record, 15 min from their mother, we get along, I’m extremely involved. It’s amazing that dads that want to be involved and bond with their children are denied.

  7. Tanya says:

    So dose this mean that if the kids are going to to. One parents as much as the other then there should be no child support right….and if so how do you get it stopped

  8. Rebecca says:

    I have witnessed first hand how my 15 month old grandson has been affected negatively by this law. It isn’t for everyone. My grandson’s father never helped financially with him and childsupport wasn’t set until April of this year. But as soon as he found out about this law he filed for joint custody and now takes my grandson and has whoever to watch him and now he pays ZERO support but doesn’t spend time truly getting to know him. Not always a win-win situation for the children! A dead beat parent gets a way with paying nothing and the child suffers drug back and forth. Not to mention staying sick from the stress. This law can fail many of our children!

  9. Anna says:

    I don’t work. I go to school 2 days a week for 3 hours and I recieve a monthly G.I. bill that pays,my bills and helps with my son. During the time I go to school my mother watches my 12 month old. His dad has never shown an interest in our son until he found out this new law. Never tended to him, never played with him. Only saw him twice a week for 3-4 hours at a time. Never had him over night until two weeks ago. Now I was just sent an order from his lawyer demanding 5050 custody and parenting time, offering no child support. He knows I make very little money. His work schedule is constantly changing. He gets up at 430 each morning, and if he gets what he is going for he will be getting himself and our son up before 4 am. My son goes to sleep at 8 pm and doesn’t get up until 730am. How is messing up his schedule what’s best for him? How is bringing him over to my house at 430 in the morning when he could spend the night and sleep through the night with his mother what is best for him? Essentially he is fighting to have our son overnight. I have offered to bring him over to his apartment when he gets off work as well as pick him up right before he goes to bed every single night of the week. I have offered every. Single. Day. Of. The. Week. He could see his son but only sees him when he has ‘the time.’ Oh amd he also works nights for weeks at a time without much notice at all. In fact, just this week and this past week he worked nights. How in the he’ll is there going to be a set parenting schedule when his work schedule is ALWAYS changing? How is this right? Please tell me. I’m waiting.

  10. Michael says:

    So this law does not help the ones u pay already n don’t get to see their kids because the law n the mother has done turned them against their father n the courts stay on top of me even if I get a week r two behind but I always pay they know I have a job n the mother jus keeps wanting more child support nds to be gone because it is jus party money for my ex n a new car every two years n I also think if u get remarried it nds to b cut down cause if u marry someone who has kids then u nd to stand up n help support them their are guys out here that has never bn in trouble until they start paying child support their broke n have no money r life so they turn to drinking n drugs it’s not rite to take someone’s money the law nds to b changed badly u will see less violence. But the law doesn’t want that r they wld go broke

  11. Love the new law. Thank you gov Bev . my son is just now starting the temporary process and is making out a parenting plan . he has no record for any crime not even a speeding ticket and it is looking good so we hope by this time next month his daughter my grandchild will be back in our life. As of now the wife is holding her hostage and will not allow contact with the father. Prayers for my son seeing his baby girl.

  12. Dianna Riddick says:

    Amen! I believe a child has a fundamental right to have a primary parent, someone that can count on on a daily basis to be there for them. This law children of. It also Rob’s children are breastfeeding because it’s a presumption is 50/50 time than the mother will never be able to breastfeed.

  13. JOHN says:


  14. Greg says:

    Judges don’t go by the laws if you hire a lawyer who is friend with the judge your case is in the bag my ex did this to me after 8 years I had full custody the 2 kid’s was adopted through the state ky we had 1 biological son she treated him so bad he stopped going with her 7 years ago not once did she fight for him but the 2 that was adopted received an adoption subsidy of 1380$ a month when they reached 11 and 12 she bought them a side by side promised the world got them to lie on me in court said I was a drug dealer that I kept bags and plates full of white powder that I was homeless I owned 2 properties 2600sqft house on 2 acres and a double wide on 21 acre farm with social worker’s on my side the judge took my kid’s from me gave her full custody I’ve never had a charge against me not even a speeding ticket I have no respect for the court’s or the laws anymore they do what they want I’m a disabled vet on a fixed income please do you have any advice

  15. Kelly Staples says:

    Will this change my current situation with my 14 year old son or does this legislation take place for everything from here in?

  16. Fannie says:

    Not to impact previous cases is unfair..in most instances the mother wins , she can cheat..then take the kids away (for child support money) , gets to make all the rules she fought for primary custody and won through manipulation , once child support was set and signed by court , she now sends the child to fathers house all the time especially weekends, so she can go out with friend and have a big time…their was nothing fair about this case..it all depends on who you know and how low you are willingly to sink to get a child support check..it was defentely about the money for her..She also gets to claim child on taxes.. the dad cannot even claim what he pays ..and she does not have to count it as income. He loves his daughter and we want her with us .the mom is giving to much power and the father, many good fathers who love and want what is best for their childern are left at the mercy of women who use kids for a monthly check , and if they get mad about something or don’t get their say then use the kid as a pawn against the dad…now that is our experience and the experience of many fathers, but I also know there are many women who care about the interest of children first and want what is best but certainly fathers on the whole do not get fair and equal treatment.

  17. Michelle ashe says:

    You law makers have no business making the call state wide on what’s best for our children and grand children . This law just opened the door to fathers to take vengeance out on the mothers and mothers getting the shaft when it comes to their time and their bond with their children . How can making a child have 2 separate lives and being exposed to live in girlfriends and vengeful grandmothers be good . What right does the government have in telling us mothers what’s best for our children. Y’all should be ashamed . I don’t know how you all sleep a night knowing that your laws have forced many children to spend many nights away from their mothers in the name of equal parenting time. Working mothers lose out in spending time with their babies thanks to you law makers . Good job ?? Destructive laws is more like it . You all should be ashamed .

  18. Larisa says:

    I’m currently pregnant due in June and my husband has pretty much abandoned me during the pregnancy and wants a divorce I planned on breastfeeding my newborn how will this law affect my newborn child? Plus he works away for long periods of time

  19. Cynthia Clemons says:

    This law is very flawed. What about nursing infants? What about deadbeat Dads in their late 30’s that live with their MOTHER in ANOTHER city and are trying to get 50% time? The mother cannot continue to nurse and may end up paying deadbeat Dad child support! A Mother who has a good career, works hard and owns her own home.

  20. Saydee says:

    Congratulations this was much needed, Especially for all the great fathers that always has to go through so much just to be in the child/children’s life

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