Are you fighting for child custody in Kansas? Becoming familiar with Kansas custody laws will help you prepare for court. Even if you have a lawyer already, you'll want to read up on the latest child custody laws in Kansas so you'll know what to expect. Here's what every single parent in the sunflower state needs to know about Kansas custody laws:
The Essence of Kansas Custody Laws
Kansas uses several factors to determine child custody.
However, if you had to boil it all down to one thing, it's this: Kansas custody laws are based on the best interests of the child. Judges in Kansas generally prefer to award joint custody, which allows both parents to share the rights and responsibilities of raising a child. If you plan to file for sole physical custody, it will be especially important for you to get to know the child custody laws in Kansas before you head to court.
Best Interests of the Child
By now, you know that child custody laws in Kansas favor the best interests of the child. But a lot of single parents are left wondering what, exactly, that means. Here's a rundown of the factors considered when determining a child's best interests:
- The child's safety
- The child's current living arrangements
- Each parents' wishes
- The child's adjustment to home, school and community
- Each parent's willingness to support the child's relationship with the other parent
- Any history of domestic abuse, drug use, or mental illness
- In some cases, the child's wishes are also considered
Visitation Rights in Kansas
In cases where the court does not award joint custody, sole custody with generous visitation is an alternative that allows both parents to be involved. However, you should also know that the state of Kansas takes visitation rights seriously.
If you attempt to interfere with a visitation order by denying your ex the right to regular visits, the court may do any one of the following:
- Require you to participate in counseling or parent education classes
- Create a regular visitation or parenting time schedule
- Order supervised visitation or parenting time
- Require you to post a bond, which means that you'd have to pay money up front and then risk losing that money if you refuse to comply with the custody order
Mediation for Child Custody Cases in Kansas
Kansas custody laws also allow the court to require mediation in cases where both parents cannot agree. If this is something the court requires of you and your ex, know that the court may allow you to have a say in who the mediator is. In Kansas, the court will generally choose a mediator based on:
- The parents' mutual agreement to have a specific mediator
- The mediator's prior relationship with either party, with the goal of avoiding any potential for bias or conflict of interests
- The mediator's training and experience
- The mediator's knowledge of family issues, including the effects of divorce on a child, family psychology issues and knowledge of community resources that may serve as a potential resource for the family
Modification of Child Custody in Kansas
Kansas custody laws also allow parents to submit a request for modification of custody. Before you file a motion, be prepared to prove that circumstances have changed significantly. This is known as a "material change of circumstances." Examples include changes that have caused or could cause physical, mental or emotional harm to your child in the event that the custody arrangement is not changed. However, again, Kansas courts tend to lean toward both parents being involved, either through joint custody or generous visitation, so you should be careful to only request a modification when you can prove that there's a serious risk.
For more information about child custody in Kansas, speak with an qualified family laws attorney in the state or refer to the Kansas Domestic Relations statute.
Edited by Jennifer Wolf.