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How Is Child Custody Determined in Kansas?

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One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is how it will impact your relationship with your children. Parents want what’s best for their children, including safety and stability, even during challenging times. Post-divorce, where are your children going to live? How will they be supported? These are natural questions that come to mind when you’re faced with divorce.

At Colgan Law Firm LLC, we want to help answer your questions about how Kansas child custody determinations are made. Familiarizing yourself with state laws regarding child custody can give you a better understanding of how the court views children’s best interests.

Types of Child Custody Arrangements in Kansas

Child custody” is a catch-all term for several child custody arrangements. There are two types of custody categories: legal and physical. Legal custody gives parents the right to make vital decisions about a child’s life. For example, medical decisions, education, and religious affiliation fall under legal custody. Physical custody or residential custody refers to the primary residence of the child. In other words, who does the child physically live with?

The courts can award joint custody to both parents or sole custody to one parent. Sole custody is usually only granted in cases where one parent is not a part of the child’s life, such as when they’re in prison or mentally incapacitated.

Both parents may retain joint legal and physical custody of a child, or both parents may accept legal custody of a child, with one awarded sole physical custody. A judge may approve different custody arrangements depending on the circumstances of both parents and what is best for the child.

Determining Child Custody

In divorce cases, it is a phrase you often hear: “the best interests of the child.” Yet, what does that mean, and how does a Kansas judge determine what is in the child’s best interests?

The best interests of the child standard helps guide a judge toward making custody decisions that benefit a child’s physical and emotional growth and development. Typically, a judge evaluates several aspects of each parent’s financial, emotional, and physical situation to help them determine custody arrangements.

Some of the relevant factors a judge may consider when evaluating a child custody case include the following:

  • Each parent’s involvement with the child before the separation
  • Each parent’s desire for custody
  • The child’s preference if the child is old enough to offer their thoughts and opinions
  • The child’s age
  • The emotional and physical needs of the child
  • The child’s attachment to family members, school, and community
  • The parent’s ability to communicate, cooperate, and co-parent
  • Each parent’s living situation
  • Each parent’s proximity to the other and the child’s school
  • Each parent’s work schedule and commitments
  • Each parent’s ability and willingness to foster a good relationship with the other parent
  • Each parent’s history of domestic abuse, violence, or neglect

Additionally, a judge may wish to consider other pertinent information to help them arrive at a child custody agreement that benefits the child’s needs. In cases where one parent retains sole physical or residential custody, the other may have parenting time to help them maintain a role in the child’s life.

Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today

The best way to advocate for yourself and your child is to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable and experienced Kansas City family law and child custody attorney. At Colgan Law Firm LLC, we know you are going through one of the most challenging times of your life. We want to offer you the support and compassion you need while we fight to protect you and your child. Contact our legal team at 913-721-9999 today to learn more.

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