In working with divided families it is often common for one parent to have 80% of the parenting time and the shared children only see the other parent 20% of time. Researchers have looked at these dynamics for years and have varied outcomes; however, most research shows children will thrive most with a 50/50 shared parenting schedule. Having been a divorced mom for almost two decades, I lived through that “timeshare” with my daughter who was just one when we divided. I am happy to report that although I missed her when she was away, she had a great childhood with equal time between her home with me and her home with her dad. At the age of 20 she reports that she does not feel like a child from a “broken family” or even a “divorced family.” She reports that she has four adults who love her and six step siblings in her ever-growing extended family.

KY is the first state in the country to create a legal presumption for joint custody in divorce proceedings. In April 2019 it was prioritized and finalized. It was signed by Gov. Matt Bevin on April 26, 2019 and took effect on July 14, 2019. They have also deemed April 26th as “Shared Parenting Day in Kentucky” to commemorate the importance of equal parenting on an annual basis.

President of Parental Alienation in Kentucky, Alexandra Beckman, said, “It’s common sense that shared parenting laws lessen parental conflict.” Separated parents are paying less in court costs and attorney fees because they are not creating and participating in long, drawn out legal battles. The families transitioning from married to divorced have the ability to now keep more of their family money intact for the children and parents instead of spending large amounts in court.

Matt Hale, National Parents Organization Board of Directors Member reports that Kentucky families are suing each other 11% less in just the short time the new law has been enacted and the new law has been well received by Kentucky voters.

What state will next adopt this new law? Oklahoma Rep. Mark Lawson introduced a similar bill recently and other states are leaning in to listen. What does that mean for Tennessee? Stay tuned as we will continue to bring critical updates to you that impact Middle Tennessee and the much-loved children of divided parents. No matter how the time is “shared” it is possible for kids in divided families to THRIVE and we are here to help parents navigate that journey with complex families.

Tammy Daughtry, MMFT –Author and Founder of and She and her husband live in Nashville and have a blended family of four!

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