What Are Kansas Child Custody Laws?
When parents get divorced, they must agree on how to care for their children by creating a custody and parenting schedule. If they can’t agree, the court makes the final decision and issues a child custody, support, and visitation order. Working with skilled family lawyers in Overland Park can protect your parental rights, ensuring the arrangement works for your family.
What Are the Types of Custody Arrangements in Kansas?
Judges split custody into various categories and award a specific type depending on the case circumstances:
- Sole custody: Both parents have equal access to school and medical records. The parent residing with the child doesn’t have to consult with the other parent about significant decisions concerning the children. However, they can’t move out of the state with the children without notifying the other parent.
- Joint legal custody: Both parties have an equal right to decide on major issues affecting the children, such as where they go to school or church or get medical care. The arrangement has nothing to do with who lives with the child or how much time they spend with them.
- Split custody: One parent lives with one child, and the other parent with the other child. Each parent has visitation rights to the child in custody with the other parent. The arrangement only occurs in rare cases.
- Non-parental custody: The arrangement can be granted temporarily if the court determines both parents to be unfit or if the child requires special care and protection. Grandparent placement is an example of non-parental custody.
Joint custody allows you and the other parent to equally be actively involved in your children’s lives. It is often the most favorable arrangement for the child’s well-being as they spend almost equal time with each parent. Experienced child custody attorneys in Overland Park can help you fight to protect your rights based on the child’s best interests.
Does Kansas Favor Mothers Over Fathers When Awarding Custody?
There is no such thing as a mother state. Judges, not juries, in Kansas determine child custody after evaluating several factors that affect the child’s overall well-being. The best interest of the child standard is the guiding factor in custody cases and influences a judge’s decision about visitation.
Factors Judges Consider in Child Custody Cases
Courts often have a broad list of guiding factors that, when combined, help them make a decision that protects and preserves the best interests of the child in question. They include, but are not limited to:
- The child’s age
- The role and involvement of each parent with the child before and after separatio
- The desire of each parent for custody or residency
- The capability of each parent to communicate with the other and maintain the required level of cooperation in co-parenting
- Each parent’s history and evidence of domestic violence
- How well the child can adjust in the new environment and still maintain good school performance
- The child’s bond with each parent, siblings, and other members of the household
- The physical and emotional needs of the child
- Each parent’s workplace and home location
- Each parent’s work schedule and their ability to spend time with the child and cater to their needs
- Each parent’s financial ability
- The willingness of each parent to promote and respect the bond between the child and the other parent and allow them to have a continuing relationship
The factors are not exhaustive. Let your Overland Park child custody attorneys know if you have relevant information or concerns the judge should consider. They can evaluate the information and present it to the judge if it affects the child’s best interests.
A judge may choose a guardian ad litem or case manager to assess the child’s needs and each parent’s capability to meet those needs. The process can include interviews with the child and parents and evaluating other evidence to determine each parent’s fitness in deciding what is best for the child.
Can Mothers Lose Custody of Their Children?
Kansas courts don’t always presume that it’s in a child’s best interest to award custody to the mother. Instead, the law requires judges to consider all relevant evidence in deciding custody arrangements. Several situations exist that could make mothers lose their parental rights if the court deems them unfit:
- Emotional, physical, or sexual abuse against the child
- Alcohol and substance abuse that renders the parent unable to take care of the child
- Emotional or mental illness or deficiency that makes the parent unable to care for the daily mental, physical, and emotional needs of the child
- Conviction of a felony or imprisonment
- Unexplained death or injury of another child of the mother while under her care at the time of death or injury
- Lack of effort on the part of the parent to adjust to the circumstances or conditions to meet the child’s needs
- Failure to maintain regular visitation or contact with the child’s other parent
- Violation of court-issued orders concerning the care, maintenance, and integration of the child into a parental home
If you know why custody should not be awarded to your child’s mother, notify your child custody lawyers in Overland Park. They can investigate the issue to substantiate your claims and help you fight for custody to protect your child’s needs and rights.
An Experienced Family Lawyer Helping You Fight for Your Parental Rights in a Custody Case
Kansas laws provide that courts can create a plan for divorcing parents if they can’t agree on how to share child custody. There is no preference for one parent over the other in custody cases, as the child’s best interests precede other factors. Fathers have equal chances at custody as mothers.
Skilled family lawyers at Barnds Law, LLC, can provide legal counsel and representation to fight for a favorable outcome in your child custody case. We know the evidence courts look at when making the final decision and can evaluate your case for factors that can give you an edge. Call us at (913) 514-0909 to schedule a strategy session.