My Child Advocate Blog


When does my child get to decide who he lives with?

In some states, when a child reaches a certain age, he may choose with whom he resides. In the state of Kansas this is not the case. In Kansas, the Court is required to make parenting time and custody decisions consistent with the best interest of the child. Neither parent shall be considered to have a vested interest in the custody of a child against another (K.S.A. 23-3204), and a child does not get to decide.

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How can a Judge not adopt the parents’ agreed parenting plan?

Kansas statute provides if two parents have an agreed parenting plan “it shall be presumed the agreed parenting plan is in the best interest of the child” (K.S.A. 23-2215(d)). This presumption can be overruled.  The Court may not adopt a parent’s agreed parenting plan if the Court makes specific findings of fact as to why the parents’ plan is not in the best interest of the child.

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What do you mean…I don’t get to see my child?!

To establish child custody and parenting time when a child is born outside of a marriage, a parentage action must be filed. Upon initial filing of the action, the Court may only enter immediate orders confirming the de facto custody arrangement. A “de facto” parent is a person who is the current or recent caretaker of a child and who has been found by the court to have assumed, on a day-to-day basis, the role of a parent to the child. In essence, a parent may leave a relationship with their minor child and file a paternity action confirming the child is with them, asking the Court to confirm the de facto custody.

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What do you mean I am not my child’s legal father?!

When a child is born to two parents who are not legally married, the father is not automatically recognized as being the child’s legal father at the time of birth. The child’s maternity is established by giving birth. In the state of Kansas, a father’s paternity must be evidenced by a legal finding of paternity through the District Court, or in the absence of a legal finding of paternity, by signing an acknowledgement of paternity form consistent with K.S.A. 2204(b). This form must include or have attached to it a written description of the rights and responsibilities of establishing paternity.

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