According to the Kansas Statutes, either spouse can be the child's custodian. The main principle is that the child's best interests must be met.
There are two types of custody in Kansas - legal and physical. Legal custody refers to which parent is involved in making crucial decisions in the upbringing of the child. Physical custody refers to with which parent the child will reside.
Kansas courts encourage parents to create a parenting plan, which outlines all the terms and conditions of the child's upbringing (custody, visitation schedule, division of parental rights and liabilities, etc.). This plan should be created by the parents jointly and independently and then presented to the judge. The judge considers it as one of the factors which demonstrate the parents' ability to cooperate and share parental responsibilities.
If parents fail to reach an agreement the court decides the custody of a child at its discretion, based on the factors such as the parents' and child's wishes and preferences, the child's adjustment to the current home, school, and community, the nature of the parent-child relationship and interaction, and any history of domestic violence, child abuse, or spousal abuse.
After this analysis, the court may award either sole or joint custody. Joint physical custody is more common if the former spouses live close to each other (so the child has an opportunity to spend approximately equal time with each parent). Joint legal custody is quite a typical arrangement so that both parents can have a say in the big decisions concerning the child's life and no one can make any significant changes without consulting with the other party.
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