This Article addresses some of the family law developments occurring since the Kentucky Law Journal last published a Kentucky law survey. Space limitations preclude discussion of every post-1985 change. Instead, this Article focuses on general trends, significant cases, and legislative developments.
Inquiry into family law developments in Kentucky is timely, not only because of the social importance of family relations, but also because of other contemporaneous efforts at family law reform. The American Law Institute ("ALl") is currently considering a final draft of principles governing family dissolution. That draft, and the discussions that surround its ultimate acceptance or rejection by the ALI, undoubtedly will be the focus of national concern. Kentucky courts, the General Assembly, and Kentucky lawyers will need to determine to what extent the Restatement's positions should prompt changes in this state's law.
Emerging controversies have marked other areas of family law. Grandparent visitation and third-party custody rights may overlap as more child custody cases involve intergenerational disputes between parents and grandparents. Rights of unwed fathers also have figured prominently in custody-related decisions. Finally, Kentucky courts have addressed international custody disputes, a new trend that involves interpretation of federal law.
Child support enforcement continues to raise numerous issues. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act became effective January 1, 1998. Interpretation of the Act will affect this state's ability to serve as a forum for child support disputes as well as this state's duty to enforce child support orders from other states.
Other developments involving the family center on the parent-child relationship rather than marriage dissolution. New concerns about the right of children to permanent, safe homes may alter state practice regarding termination of parental rights.
Louise Graham, The Kentucky Law Survey: Family Law, 86 Ky. L.J. 795 (1998).