Child custody cases can occur in divorce or separation cases, and they are often emotionally strenuous for the entire family. Even custody cases where parents are amicable can become contentious due to high emotions and the hopes of each parent to spend time with their children. These cases can be much easier to navigate with a Wichita child custody attorney, whether you and your co-parent are creating a parenting plan or the court is making one for you.

The Best Interest Standard for Child Custody

When family courts are making or approving any decision regarding children, they will always hold the child’s interests as a priority. Whether parents create a parenting plan together or the court creates one, this standard will be applied to determining custody and visitation. To determine what a child’s interests are in each unique case, the court will consider the following factors:

  1. How involved each parent was in the life of their minor child before and after separation
  2. The wishes of each parent for their child’s custody and visitation
  3. The child’s wishes for custody and visitation if they are considered to be of sufficient age and maturity to be well-reasoned
  4. The child’s age
  5. The child’s basic needs for physical and emotional care
  6. The child’s relationship with their parents, siblings, and other people who affect the child’s interests
  7. The child’s relationship and adjustment to their home, school, and surrounding community
  8. Each parent’s capabilities and willingness to allow a continuous relationship between the child and the other parent
  9. Evidence of domestic abuse by either parent, such as an act of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault against any party, or a pattern of physical or emotional abuse or threats against a household member
  10. Each parent’s willingness to communicate and handle parenting duties
  11. Each parent’s work schedule
  12. The child’s school and after-school schedule
  13. The location of the child’s school
  14. The location of each parent’s home and employment
  15. If either parent is subject to registration under the Kansas Offender Registration Act
  16. If either parent has been convicted of child abuse
  17. If either parent is residing with a person who is subject to registration under the state’s Offender Registration Act or has been convicted of child abuse

The court is not limited to only these factors, and it may review any other relevant factors. The goal is to put the child in a living situation that most effectively protects and promotes their physical and mental health and well-being.

Understanding the Types of Custody in Kansas

Kansas has two types of custody that make up a child custody determination:

  • Legal custody, which determines the right of one or both parents to make decisions about their child’s life, including legal, healthcare, educational, religious, and moral decisions
  • Residency, or physical custody, which is where the child primarily lives

These types of custody may be joint, awarded to both parents, or sole, awarded to only one parent. It is common for parents to be awarded joint legal custody and for one parent to receive residency custody, with the other receiving generous visitation rights. Joint legal custody requires parents to agree on or consent to important decisions or take the decision to court. This is often preferred because both parents have a say in how their child is raised.

Sole legal custody is rare unless one parent is shown to be unable to make reasonable or safe decisions for their child. The court may prefer sole residency because it believes this promotes more stability in a child’s life. However, joint residency may be awarded in some cases, allowing nearly equal parenting time for each parent.


Q: How Do You Get Full Custody of a Child in Kansas?

A: Full custody does not exist in Kansas, but sole custody occurs when a parent has sole legal custody and/or sole residency. Obtaining sole legal custody and sole residency can be difficult. Typically, the court assumes a child should spend time with both parents, so a parent requesting sole custody must prove why the other parent is unfit to have custody. A parent could be unfit due to substance abuse, a dangerous living environment, or being incapable of providing for a child’s basic needs.

Q: What Are the Child Custody Relocation Laws in Kansas?

A: In Kansas, the child custody relocation laws state that a parent must inform the other parent 30 days prior to a move if they intend to either:

  1. Move away with their children for more than 90 days; or
  2. Permanently change the child’s primary residence.

The parent must give the other parent written notice in the mail and include essential information about the move and a potential revised custody arrangement. This is true whether a parent has sole or joint custody.

Q: What Factors Decide Child Custody in Kansas?

A: Child custody in Kansas is determined based on the child’s interests, which may be determined by the following factors:

  • The child’s age, physical needs, and emotional needs
  • Each parent’s ability to cooperate and communicate
  • The relationship of the child with their parents, siblings, and other individuals
  • The wishes of the parents
  • The wishes of the child, if they have sufficient age and maturity
  • The child’s connection with their community
  • If either parent will encourage and respect the relationship between their child and the other parent

Q: What Is a Parenting Plan in Kansas?

A: A parenting plan is created by separating or divorcing parents of a child to determine physical and legal custody. This plan should discuss important topics, such as:

  1. How parents will communicate
  2. The primary residence of the child, including visitation and parenting time schedules
  3. Ways that both parents will be involved in the child’s life, schooling, and extracurricular activities
  4. Decisions about the child’s education, religious upbringing, healthcare, and other important topics
  5. How parents will make important joint decisions in the future

Helping Parents Navigate Child Custody Decisions

Whether you need to make or modify a child custody decision, you need a dedicated and compassionate attorney. An attorney can help mediate discussions between you and your co-parent or represent your requests in negotiations or in court. When you have a skilled custody attorney advocating for your family’s interests, this can lower your stress and help you reach a better conclusion to the case. Contact Stange Law Firm today.