Quietly in early April, with little fanfare, the Kentucky legislature passes a new House Bill (HB) 492, relating to temporary custody orders. New laws in Kentucky generally take effect on July 1st each year. The link http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/17RS/HB492.htm can take you to the actual statutory language.

When parties who have children separate, and before they reach a final agreement or order about their children, they sometimes need a “Band-Aid” spelled out in writing to resolve matters on a temporary basis. Two of those matters are custody and parenting time (also known as timesharing). Until now, there has been no presumption the judge must follow about what should happen on a temporary basis. (See other sections of this website for articles about custody and timesharing in general).

This new Kentucky statute creates a rebuttable presumption that parties will share joint legal custody on a temporary basis while their case is ongoing. It also created a rebuttable presumption that the parties shall have equal parenting time, also on a temporary basis. These presumptions have not been in place historically and are completely new. Historically, there was no presumption at all.

What this means is that now, as a starting point in court, the parties will share joint custody and have equal timesharing while the case is going on. Those presumptions can be overcome, depending on the evidence, causing the judge to rule differently.

Parties are always still free to come up with their own custody and timesharing arrangements, as long as they adequately provide for the welfare of the child. The parties are also free to return to court for modification of what they have in place if there is as “material and substantial change in the circumstances.”

This new law only addresses temporary custody and parenting time. It does not establish any presumptions for a final hearing on custody and timesharing . . . yet.

There are many different aspects to this new law, which you should discuss these with an attorney.