Beginning in July, a new custody law goes into effect which will in some cases change the approach to “parenting time” in Kentucky.
House Bill 492, which Gov. Matt Bevin signed into law on April 10, addresses the way temporary custody of children is divvied up between parents while permanent custody is decided. Existing child custody arrangements are not affected.
“Permanent custody arrangements can take an extended time,” said state Rep. Robby Mills (R-Henderson), who was a sponsor of the bill.
“What House Bill 492 does is it basically states that walking into the courtroom each parent has the presumption of 50/50 shared custody to start with. As of right now, I don’t think the law really addresses that.”
Mills said joint temporary custody does not apply if it creates a likelihood of abuse or neglect. In addition, parents will have to file an affidavit requesting his/her portion of the equal parenting time.
“I’ve been contacted by several dads that feel like they start out at below 50 percent of custody in these situations,” Mills said. “The law is clear that if there is a bad parenting situation … abuse, drug abuse or anything like that … that the judge has the final say in temporary custody. But where those threats don’t exist, it at least gets parents on equal footing from the get-go.”
“There are really good dads who’ve gone into court with no strikes against them and only get 30 percent of the custody,” Mills said.
“After I got elected, I was contacted by a few dads involved in a statewide organization about father’s rights,” he said. “One of my new representative friends is Jason Petrie from Todd County area, who spearheaded this bill. He’s an attorney and deals with a lot of family work, custody and divorce. He already had this issue that he was going to address. He felt he had plenty of working knowledge that this was needed in Kentucky. I relied on his working knowledge of the system along with the information I received from people coming to me asking for help.”
The Gleaner was unable to reach Petrie for comment.
Mills said the 50/50 temporary parenting law “is just until permanent custody gets worked out. We are also, eventually, wanting to look at a similar permanent custody law.”
The bill wasn’t difficult to pass, he said. House Bill 492 passed the Kentucky House 97-0 and the Senate 38-0.
“Once it was filed, it was a no-brainer,” Mills said. “In the committees there were very few questions. It seems many state reps have heard similar stories. Considering the responses to it, the bill appears to have struck a chord with folks.”
“I didn’t talk a lot about the bill when we were working on it, but I posted some of the things that were positive that came out of the legislative session. When it came to the custody law, there were a lot of comments such as “thank goodness, it’s really needed” from both women and men.”
Source by Beth Smith