Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 528, a shared parenting law, earlier this year. HB 528 effectively gives Kentucky what officials are calling "one of the best" joint custody laws in the United States. The law went into effect approximately three weeks ago and now, the results from the first survey are in.
According to Public Policy Polling which surveyed 592 Kentucky voters, 58 percent of those surveyed support House Bill 528. Only 10 percent oppose the law and 32 percent were not sure.
Matt Hale, Kentucky’s Chairman of National Parent’s Organization, attributes this to the fact that many people still don’t know about HB 528. Hale urges the public to do their research and become familiar with shared parenting.
Signed by Bevin on April 26, HB 528 is an act relating to joint custody that creates the “presumption that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child, and to require the court to consider the motivation of adults involved when determining the best interest of the child for custody orders…[and] to allow a parent not granted custody or shared parenting time to petition for reasonable visitation rights” [Kentucky Legislature HB528].
In a nutshell, both parents, as deemed fit, will have equal decision making and time with their children instead of one parent being granted primary custody and a second receiving visitation.
In fact, of those polled, 83 percent of people believe it is in the child’s best interest to have as much time as possible with both fit parents in instances of divorce, yet 70 percent reported they believe family courts are more likely to give fathers less than equal parenteral rights.
Combating such inequalities across the Commonwealth is one major goal of the law. Most are even calling it a common sense law, one which should have been passed ages ago. For example, Knox-Laurel Family Court Judge Stephen M. Jones has put shared parenting into practice in his own courtroom years before the law went into effect.
“You can’t be a parent every other weekend. I’ve been [using shared parenting] for three years now, so there’s really no change in my courtroom,” said Jones. “I think it’s a good thing.”