Child custody and visitation is an important part of many divorces. In Kansas, joint custody is often awarded so both parents share rights regarding the child. It is usually best if the parents can come to an agreement about how they will share rights and access regarding the child. However, if they cannot agree, a judge will make a child custody decision for them.

The types of child custody in Kansas

There are several types of child custody in Kansas, including joint custody, sole custody, and non-parental custody. Joint custody is most often awarded, and it means that both parents share the ability to make major life decisions regarding the child, such as his or her education, medical care and religious upbringing. Joint custody does not refer to where the child lives, though. That is called physical custody or residential placement.

Shared residential placement means that the child lives with each parent separately for approximately equal amounts of time. Even if the parents have joint custody, shared residential placement is less frequently ordered because of the logistical difficulties. Instead, the child usually lives primarily with one parent and spends other extended periods of time with the other parent. If the parents live near each other and present an agreement to share residential placement, however, the judge may approve it.

Sole custody grants only one parent the right to make all major decisions regarding the child. Sole custody may be ordered by a judge when one parent is unable to parent, such as when he or she is incarcerated or incapacitated.

Non-parental custody occurs when someone other than a parent is awarded custody of the child. For example, in Kansas, grandparents may be awarded non-parental child custody.

Parents are encouraged to create their own child custody and parenting time arrangements, but sometimes they cannot agree. When parents cannot reach an agreement, a judge may make a child custody award according to the child’s best interests. Judges consider many factors when awarding child custody, including:

  • The child’s adjustment to home, school and community
  • The wishes of the parents and the child
  • The parent’s willingness to support the child’s relationship with the other parent
  • The existence of any spousal abuse

If you and your spouse are getting divorced and you have a child, contact a Kansas family law attorney to discuss your situation. It is always beneficial to have a knowledgeable child custody lawyer on your side.