What is “primary residential custody”?

Many parents want “primary residential custody.” Many other parents want “shared residential custody.”

Kansas law does not prefer either over the other. Kansas law requires that parents submit to the court either:

(a)  an agreed parenting plan showing the schedule of time the children are to be with each parent or

(b)  that each parent submit a proposed parenting plan showing what they each believe to be an appropriate parenting schedule so that the court (and other parent) can see what, if any, “real” disputes the parents have about their proposed schedules.

The designation of one parent as the “residential parent” does not vest that parent with any more – or any less – rights than are vested in the other parent. The designation of one parent as the “primary residential parent” is often used only as a “short-hand” to indicate the parent with whom the children live “more often.”

The designation of the parents as having a “shared parenting” arrangement similarly recognizes the “fact” that the parents are each living with the children about one-half the time.

The mere fact the parents state they are both “shared parenting” or that one is the “residential parent” does not make it so. The court can (and does) look behind the “labels” to determine the “fact,” if it becomes an issue.