Although Kansas law specifies that neither the father nor the mother should have preferential treatment when it comes to child custody, many fathers feel that they have been treated unfairly by the court system as far as their custody and visitation rights are concerned. In these situations, a seasoned family law attorney can assert your parental rights and fight to ensure that you can continue to parent your children.

Types of Child Custody

When you and your ex-spouse sit down to discuss your parenting privileges and responsibilities, you’ll need to consider the two key aspects of Kansas custody arrangements: physical and legal custody. Put simply:

  • Physical custody refers to where the child resides, while
  • Legal custody refers to each parent’s ability to make decisions about the child’s upbringing.

While you may have a clear picture in your mind of how the custody conversation should go, it’s important that you take a step back and remember what truly matters — that is, what’s best for your child or children.

As an invested father, you should absolutely be entitled to spend quality time with your kids. Just remember that courts look at more than just how good of a parent you are. They also consider logistical and emotional factors like how far you live from your child’s school, how stable your home environment appears to be, and what the child wants.

Joint Legal Custody Can Be a Win-Win

Joint legal custody is preferred by Kansas courts, and it implies that both parents — mother and father — will each have a say in major decisions in a child’s life. This could include decisions on the child or children’s:

  • Education
  • Medical treatment
  • Religion
  • Discipline
  • Sports and activities

Under a joint legal custody arrangement, the right to make these decisions is to be shared equally between the parents.

In most situations, a child resides primarily with one parent (the residential parent, or the parent with primary physical custody), and spends a predetermined amount of time with the other parent. When a child splits time equally (or nearly equally) between both parents, it’s called “shared physical residency.”

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Your Rights As the Non-Residential Parent

If you are the non-residential or non-custodial parent, you still have parental rights, including the right to spend time with your child, known as “visitation” or “parenting time.” In less contentious cases, courts may order “reasonable” parenting time and allow the parents to set a schedule that works for them.

Reasonable parenting time means that the non-residential or non-custodial parent has the right to see their child 1) at reasonable times, 2) under reasonable circumstances, and 3) after adequate notice.

What About Sole Custody?

If a parent has sole legal and physical custody, that means that he or she makes all of the major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing and the child lives with that parent. The non-custodial parent may have specific or limited visitation rights, including supervised visitation.

This arrangement is, understandably, a commonly held fear among divorcing fathers. However, you should not be denied your parental privileges unless you have a history of violence, are a known abuser of drugs or alcohol, are in jail, or are mentally ill. And, even if you do have an unflattering history of harmful behaviors, it may be possible to request a modification to your child custody and visitation arrangements — so long as you can effectively demonstrate that you have changed your circumstances for the better.

Whether you are just entering into the first stages of divorce or are looking to modify your existing child custody and visitation agreement, Jeffers Law Office is here to help. Attorney Mark Jeffers offers unbiased, unwavering legal support to fathers and mothers alike and would love nothing more than to help you find a solution that works for you and your children.

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Father’s Rights Attorney in Overland Park, Kansas

Courts are not permitted to make a custody determination based on the gender of the parent, regardless of the age of the child involved. If you’re worried that a judge will grant custody to your children’s mother due to gender, you need a skilled father’s rights attorney to advocate for your parental rights. Jeffers Law Office offers experienced, compassionate legal services to fathers who wish to assert their rights regarding the physical and legal custody of their children. Contact attorney Mark Jeffers today to discuss your case.