Kansas law requires that the Court make decisions about children based upon their best interests. These decisions include the designation of legal custody, the type of residency, and what parenting time will take place.
Legal custody is the ability to make decisions regarding your child’s health, education, and welfare. In Kansas, there are two types of legal custody. An order of joint legal custody means that the parties have equal rights to make decisions in the best interests of the child. An order of sole legal custody means that only one parent makes decisions for the child because it isn’t in the best interests of the child for both parents to make decisions for him/her.
The term “residency” refers to where the child resides. If the child lives mostly with one parent, we commonly refer to that parent as having “primary residency.” The other parent is then awarded parenting time. If the child spends equal amounts of time with both parents, it is called “shared residency.”
If parents agree upon legal custody, residency, and parenting time for their children, then their agreement is presumed to be in the best interests for the children and the Court will adopt the agreement as its order. If parents cannot agree upon custody, residency, or parenting time, the Court must make the decision. In doing so, it considers:
- The length of time that the child has been under the actual care and control of any person other than a parent and the circumstances relating thereto;
- the desires of the child’s parents as to custody or residency;
- the desires of the child as to the child’s custody or residency;
- the interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
- the child’s adjustment to the his or her home, school and community;
- the willingness and ability of each parent to respect and appreciate the bond between the child and the other parent and to allow for a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent;
- evidence of spousal abuse.
The above list is not a complete list of what the Court can consider while making decisions regarding children.
A large portion of Ward Potter LLC’s practice is devoted to child custody and parenting time disputes. Many attorneys shy away from such cases, but we feel that there is no more important aspect of family law than dealing with issues pertaining to children. We view this area as one in which we can have a significantly positive impact on lives.
There are many nuances to custody and parenting time issues. Each case is unique and cannot be approached with a “cookie cutter” mentality. For example, the Court typically requires that parents who are disputing custody or parenting time must participate in some form of alternative dispute resolution. In Sedgwick County, Kansas, the options are either Mediation or Limited Case Management. Lynn Ward took mediation training with CDR Associates, located in Boulder, Colorado, in 1999. She has been an approved mediator by the Supreme Court of the State Kansas. She has conducted both mediation and Limited Case Management for the Courts in Sedgwick County, Kansas, and, as a result, is skilled in guiding the clients of Ward Potter LLC, through the alternative dispute resolution process.
Most cases are resolved through alternative dispute resolution. If not, we are experienced in helping our clients pursue custody and parenting time matters through the Court system, including evidentiary hearings and trials.
If you are facing a child custody, residency, or parenting time issue, the first step is to complete a questionnaire which elicits the information needed by your attorney to prepare the documents that she will file with the Court on your behalf. Please go to the “Client Resource” page and click on Forms to the questionnaire that is best for you. We offer it in PDF or Microsoft Word format. You may bring the questionnaire with you to your first meeting with the attorneys at Ward Potter LLC.