Under Kansas law, courts may consider a number of factors in deciding the custody and visitation arrangement that should be ordered for children of a divorcing couple. Courts may consider these factors, in addition to any other relevant information. Child custody determinations are complex matters. If you are facing a child custody issue in the Kansas City area, Burke McClasky Stevens can provide you with an effective advocate for your case.
The factors outlined in Kansas statutes include the following:
How long the child has been under the actual care and control of any person other than a parent and the circumstances pertaining to that situation. In all decisions relating to children, one of a court\'s highest priorities is providing stability for children of a broken relationship. The longer a child has been in the care of one parent, the more likely it is that parent will be designated as the caretaker of the child.
The wishes of the child\'s parents as to the child\'s custody or residency. If there is an agreement between the parents regarding custody, residency and visitation of their child, the will often presume that agreement is in the best interest of the children. This presumption may be overcome and the court may make any different order it believes would be in the best interest of the child if it finds specifically how and why part or all of the agreement is not in the best interests of the child. Otherwise, the court will consider the parents\' agreement would best serve the interests of the child since the parents are the ones who have the greatest contact and interest in the child\'s welfare.
The desires of the child as to his or her custody and residency. Although a court may take a child\'s preference into consideration, whether to accept that preference is up to the court in determining what is in the best interest of the child.
The interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect his or her best interests. Kansas courts consider how close each parent is with the child, but also the relationship of the child with others with whom the he or she has regular contact. This includes friends, neighbors, relatives, and anyone else who may have an effect or input to the child\'s surroundings.
The child\'s adjustment to the child\'s home, school, and community. Stability is a crucial factor in any determination of custody, residency and visitation. Kansas courts are reluctant to upset a stable situation in favor of an uncertain future, unless there are equally important considerations.
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. A court takes into consideration any hostility by one parent to the other in making a custody determination. The courts consider it to be better to grant custody and residency to a parent who will promote a relationship with the other parent, rather than someone who will constantly encourage arguments and a lack of respect for the other parent.
Likelihood of spousal abuse. Any evidence of spousal abuse may indicate a high possibility for future abuse of a child. Even if abuse of the child is not likely, the courts are very wary of exposing children to an atmosphere in which violence is permitted.
Burke McClasky Stevens may be able to assist you if you are facing a child custody dispute or issue in the Kansas City area. Our law firm has provided effective representation to clients in Kansas City and the surrounding areas, including Johnson, Clay, Platte, and Ray Counties. You may contact us for an initial consultation by calling (913) 242-7522. We will take the time to listen, investigate your case, and design a strategy that protects the well-being of your child and your relationship with her or him.