Legal Information: Kansas


June 21, 2021

What is custody?

In Kansas, legal custody deals with dividing up parenting responsibilities between parents, including decision-making rights and responsibilities on matters of health, education and welfare.1 Custody should not be confused with residency, which involves the physical placement of the child (the actual address of the child). Custody and residency are two separate things.

In Kansas, there are two types of custody:

  • Joint legal custody and
  • Sole legal custody.

If you are granted joint legal custody of your child, both parents have the right to make the following types of decisions:

  • where your child goes to school
  • whether your child gets a particular type of medical care
  • what kind of religious training your child receives.

Joint legal custody is preferred in Kansas. If a judge decides to grant sole legal custody, it must specifically say in the court record why this decision was made and why it is in the best interests of the child.2

If you are granted sole legal custody, you alone can make these decisions but the other parent can still access information regarding the child unless a judge orders otherwise.3

After legal custody is decided, the court will decide the residency of the child. See What is residency and who can get it? for more information.

A judge may also give you parenting time. Parenting time is when you have the legal right to visit your child. Go to What is parenting time? for more information.

1 K.S.A. § 23-2311(c)
2 K.S.A. § 23-3206
3 K.S.A. § 23-3206(b)

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