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Family Law Task Force

The statewide legal services Family Law Task Force will meet next on:

Date: Thursday, November 7
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. CT

Place: Madison County Library, 507 W. Main Street, Richmond, KY 40475

For more info:


November 7, 2019
11:00 Welcome and Introductions
We’ll go around the room for introductions—including co-chairs Katina Miner and Sarah Hayes

11:10  Legislative Updates

Kentucky Equal Justice Center staff have reviewed pre-filed bills for the 2020 General Assembly. See summary hereBen Carter reports.

11:20  Child Support Changes


It's not a bill yet, but legislators got a briefing in October from Cabinet for Health and Family Service officials on a proposal to adjust child support based on the degree of shared parenting. Ben reports.  

11:30  "Coerced Debt"

Katina Miner shares resources on an all too frequent occurrence.

11:45  Break and Grab Lunch

12:00  "Car Talk" with Sarah and Ben

Our own charming Bostonian radio hosts will talk with us about how we can use family law tools to address disputes over vehicles and what consumer law tools we should be aware of when family law remedies aren't cutting it.


1:30  Workshop 

Ask burning questions of the brains trust in attendance.


Last Meeting

June 27, 2019
11:00 Welcome and Introductions


We’ll go around the room for introductions—including co-chairs Katina Miner and Sarah Hayes.


11:15 Intersection:  Family Law and Taxes 

Like nature, family law abhors a vacuum. At each meeting, we’ll explore what the versatile practitioner should know about another area of law. At this meeting, Legal Aid Society’s Nick Maraman helps us explore the  intersection of family law and taxes:

  • Who should claim children as dependents?  What to consider?

  • How are tax benefits affected by equal timesharing?

  • What changes have occurred since the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act?

  • Sample language for custody agreements and divorce decrees

12:15 Working Lunch!


Let’s grab a bite and spend a little time networking.

12:30 Short Ones:  As the World Turns and the General Assembly Adjourns

We’ll take a brief tour of new bills, cases and emerging issues that could affect your practice:

Shared parenting, they presume:  Last year’s HB 528 amended KRS 403.270 to create a presumption in favor of joint custody and equal parenting time in divorce.  Advocates sought a set aside of the presumption for cases involving domestic violence but Senators narrowed the scope to cases with a DVO already entered.  KRS 403.315.  Our chairs open a discussion about what judges are doing and what you see in your cases.

Child support variations:  Provisions of HB 415 setting out formulas for variations didn’t pass the 2019 General Assembly, leaving it to judges to deviate from the child support guidelines when they see fit. That happens a lot in 50/50 timesharing scenarios. What are you seeing—or proposing—in your cases?  Co-Chairs start the discussion.

50-50 custody and public benefits:  He’s been there and done that.  Advocate Jason Dunn of Kentucky Voices for Health used to direct the DCBS Family Support division.  He’ll give us some pointers of what true split custody can mean for public benefits, especially K-TAP.  See his presentation, Joint Custody and Public Benefits.

General Assembly approach, avoidance:  They were mostly close calls, but they might appear again.  Lawmakers considered bills to:

  • Offer support for non-parent caretakers (HB 2) this one passed

  • Adjust child support for shared parenting time (HB 415)

  • Make school stability a touchstone of custody orders (HB 312 full text)

  • Create a new agency to manage guardians ad litem (SB 205 SCS1)


Good?  Bad?  Mixed?  We’ll take a look at KEJC’s Family Law section of its bill tracking chart, plus it's General Assembly scorecard, and get comments from KEJC’s Rich Seckel and Meg Savage of KCADV—and your thoughts, too.

1:30 Break 


1:45 Castle v. Castle:  DVO Overturned

“Charles alleges entry of the DVO, premised on a sexual assault having occurred and the possibility of it recurring, was an abuse of the Rowan Circuit Court’s discretion because there was no testimony he sexually assaulted Robin or A.H., and there was insufficient proof he sexually assaulted O.H. Following thorough review of the record, Charles’ brief, and the law, we reverse and direct entry of a new judgment.”


We take note of this Kentucky Court of Appeals decision.  Read it here.  Was it just a one-off?  Will it affect the cases you see?  KCADV’s Meg Savage comments. She also takes note of the Court's decision in Kummer v. Valla. Is it a sign of judicial discontent with the current statute on stalking protective orders? 


Any other cases of note?


2:00 Kinship Caregivers and Non-Removals:  A Benefits Vortex?
Megan Metcalf from Legal Aid Society opens a discussion concerning Cabinet removals via “prevention plans.” What are we seeing when there is no follow-through on permanent custody? What is the impact on benefits for families and children?

2:15 Adjourn

The Kentucky Bar Association has approved 2.25 hours of CLE for this meeting.

Past Meetings

January 31, 2019

11:00 Welcome and Introductions

  • Overview of General Assembly

  • Family Law Bills of Concern and Interest

  • Community Partner Perspective

Find our Bill Tracking Chart here!


June 27, 2018​


10:00 Welcome and Introductions
We’ll go around the room for introductions—including new co-chairs Katina Miner and Sarah Hayes.


10:15 Intersection: Family Law and Immigration

Like nature, family law abhors a vacuum. At each meeting over the next year, we’ll explore what the versatile practitioner should know about another area of law. At this meeting, KLA’s Susan Montalvo-Gesser helps us explore the intersection of family law and immigration law:

  • Who LSC-funded programs can help—and how—among immigrant family members

  • What you need to know, especially while serving members of “mixed status” families

  • Potential new “public charge” rules from the Trump administration

Kentucky Equal Justice Center’s Rich Seckel will describe work at Maxwell Street Legal Clinic to help families fill out Special Power of Attorney under KRS 403.352 and KRS 403.353 to care for children in the event of emergencies.

We’ll request CLE for this portion of the program.


11:15 Short Ones: As the World Turns and the General Assembly Adjourns

We’ll take a brief tour of new bills, cases and emerging issues that could affect your practice:

Child protection: It passed by wide margins. Kentucky’s First Lady lent support. HB 1 reworks child protection system with a view toward permanency for children. See Kentucky Youth Advocates' take on the bill here. What are the pressure points where you and your clients might see a difference? Katina and Sarah comment on key provisions. (15 minutes).

Informal removal: Kentucky’s 2017 provisions for “fictive kin” allow—and perhaps invite—short term placements for children. (See the Cabinet's manual for state agency workers and guide for fictive kin.) But does the Cabinet also makes temporary placements with family, without much in the way of procedure or support? Katina gives examples. (15 minutes).

Kentucky Equal Justice Center’s Rich Seckel will share highlights from the family law section of KEJC’s bill tracking chart. See also his one-page General Assembly Overview and special prepared Family Law Bill Tracking Chart.


11:45 Lunch

We’ll take a few minutes to grab a working lunch.

12:00 Trauma in the Courtroom: How to Engage and Advocate for Clients with Trauma

The session will be led by LCSWs Heather Webb and Lee Fowlkes. They’ll present research and clinical findings and explore three key questions:

• What do we know about the effects of trauma on parents and children?
• How can practitioners use testimony, experts and evidence in cases?
• How can knowledge of trauma effects help us work with clients?

We'll request CLE credit for this presentation, too.


1:30 Short Ones II: Joint Custody, They Presume

This year’s HB 528 creates a presumption in favor of joint custody and equal parenting time in divorce. Advocates sought a “set aside” for cases involving domestic violence but the scope was narrowed to cases with a DVO already entered. We’ll start the discussion about how to practice under the bill.

Your topic here . . .


2:00 Adjourn

October 24, 2017



11:00 Welcome and Introductions


11:15 Supreme Court Refuses to Health Kentucky Foster Care Case

It was front page news. The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand the decision of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. We'll have a panel discussion on implications for children, parents, foster parents and legal services practice.

Panel Members

Shannon Moody and Terrance Sullivan, Kentucky Youth Advocates
Amanda Mullins Bear, Children's Law Center
Brandie Ingalls, Legal Aid of the Bluegrass


11:45 Break and Lunch

We'll break and begin a working lunch.

12:00 New Leasing protections for Victims and the Mandatory Reporting Law

Meg Savage from Kentucky Domestic Violence Association will fill us in.

12:15 CLE Presentation: QDROs Keeping You Up at Night?

Presenter: Eileen Zell, Law Office of J. Eileen Zell, PLLC, 541 Buttermilk Pike, Suite 505, PO Box 17872, Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017-0872



Introduction to retirement assets in divorce
Introduction to various retirement assets
Exploration of how to divide retirement assets in divorce

  • Three step approach

  • Best method to divide plan, identification of plan type

  • QDRO-related issues, identification of plan class

  • Resolution of QDRO-related issues, source of law

  • Practicum - Case examples

  • Practicum - Plan comparisons

  • Time permitting - Proper utilization of model QDRO forms

PowerPoint: Eileen Zell, "QDROs Keeping You Up at Night? Sleep Tight by Getting it Right."

1:15 Break


1:30 Family Law Practicum: Case Law, Peer Discussion, Legislation on the Rise

2017 Bills of Interest:

HB 180 -- Establish that CHFS may approve "fictive kin" as placement for a child
HB 492 -- Create a presumption of joint custody in temporary custody orders

Will It Come Back?

HB 427 -- Require court in a divorce to hold a hearing to determine whether the marriage is irretrievably broken


2:00 Conclusion

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