Kentucky Now Leads the Nation in Shared Parenting After Divorce

April 26, 2018

With Governor Bevin’s Signature, Kentucky Now Leads the Nation in Shared Parenting After Divorce

FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY — Thanks to Kentucky legislators and Gov. Bevin, Kentucky now leads the nation in protecting children’s best interests when parents divorce or separate. The historic moment arrived on Thursday, April 26, when Gov. Matt Bevin signed HB528, a bill stating equal parenting time is best for children.

“April 26 goes down in history as the day Kentucky became the first true shared parenting state in the United States. Kentucky, more than any other state, can now say it does everything it can to give children two loving parents after divorce – just as our children deserve,” said Matt Hale, Chair of National Parents Organization in Kentucky, who led the reform effort for five years. “Research overwhelmingly shows children want and need both parents after separation. Our state lawmakers responded by aligning state laws with the research. This represents a common sense yet unprecedented move. Our lawmakers and primary sponsors Jason Petrie and Kevin Bratcher should be commended.”

While a handful of states have laws supportive of shared parenting and about 25 states have considered similar reform in the past year, Kentucky’s new law goes the furthest by establishing a “presumption, rebuttable by a preponderance of evidence, that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child.” This means only fit parents will receive shared parenting. For instance, parents with a domestic violence finding will not qualify for equal parenting time.

The law passed the Kentucky House and Senate before Gov. Bevin signed it – the law takes effect in June.

While Kentucky now leads the nation in shared parenting, just a few years ago it was one of the worst states in this area. In 2014, Kentucky received a D- on National Parents Organization’s Shared Parenting Report Card, which graded each state on its shared parenting laws. Last year, Hale led the effort for the unanimously approved HB 492, which created a presumption of shared parenting in temporary custody orders.

“The primary custody that we continue to see nationwide deprives children the consistent love and care of both parents. I am very proud to say I’m from Kentucky, the state serving as the shining example of how to fix the family court system and best serve families,” Hale said.


Shared Parenting Data

Single Parenting Data
According to 
federal statistics from sources including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Census Bureau, children raised by single parents account for:

  • 63% of teen suicides;
  • 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions;
  • 71% of high school drop-outs;
  • 75% of children in chemical abuse centers;
  • 85% of those in prison;
  • 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders; and
  • 90% of homeless and runaway children.

National Parents Organization, a charitable and educational 501 (c)(3) organization, seeks better lives for children through family law reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers after divorce or separation. The organization is focused on promoting shared parenting and preserving a child’s strong bonds with both parents, which is critically important to their emotional, mental, and physical health. National Parents Organization released the Shared Parenting Report Card, the first study to rank the states on child custody laws, and in 2017, National Parents Organization hosted the International Conference on Shared Parenting, bringing in research scholars from 18 countries to share their results on shared parenting. Visit the National Parents Organization website at

Click to listen highlighted text!