When a couple divorces, two individuals end a marriage contract. The ex-spouses must divvy up their assets and determine who will get the home and anything else they may have accumulated while married.
When parents divorce, the couple must also determine who the couple's children will live with. Ideally, the parents will put together a child custody plan on their own. This plan is presented to the court and, generally, the court will facilitate the agreement.
When parents cannot come to an agreement, the courts will step in and make the determination.
How child custody is determined in Kansas
When possible, the court system in Kansas will opt for joint custody. This allows both parents to play an active role in their children's lives, sharing major decisions concerning how the child is raised.
It is important to note that joint custody does not refer to physical custody. Joint custody means both parents are a part of the decision-making process regarding the child's upbringing, while physical custody involves where the child actually lives.
When determining physical custody, the court will look to the child's best interests. This can include considering the:
- Child's adjustment to home, school and community
- Wishes of the parents
- Wishes of the child, depending on child's age
- History of abuse
In most circumstances, the court will place the children primarily with one parent with set visitation periods scheduled with the other in a form of shared custody. This can include weekends and overnights as well as extended time periods over the summer.
Types of child custody
Although the court often grants joint custody, the judge has a variety of choices. An additional option is sole custody. Sole custody results in one parent having both primary physical custody and the ability to make all major decisions regarding how the child is raised. This option is generally granted when one parent is not involved in the child's life.
Another option, though not often used, is divided custody. This option applies if more than one child is present, and one child lives with the mother while the other lives with the father.
In some situations, the court may grant custody to someone other than a parent, such as a grandparent. This option is only used when the court determines that the parents are unfit to provide a home for the child.
Navigating the child custody laws in Kansas can be difficult. Although the court generally takes a parent's desires into consideration when determining custody, a parent can increase his or her odds of receiving custody if they can prove that it is in the child's best interest to remain in their care. As a result, if you are attempting to gain custody of children in a divorce it is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced Kansas City child custody attorney to discuss your situation and better ensure your legal rights are protected. We encourage you to schedule a free consultation online or call us at 913-660-0664 to discuss your case today.