FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- Kim Stacy, who has battled to keep custody of her three children for the past two years, faces a new challenge -- a change in Kentucky custody laws that was prompted by her ex-husband, a state legislator.
Rep. John Stacy arranged for the change in the law during a late-night conference committee meeting near the end of the General Assembly session in March. There was no public discussion or debate on the provision, which was added to an unrelated bill.
The new law makes it easier for a divorced parent without custody to challenge a court's custody orders.
Under their divorce decree, the Stacys share custody, but the children -- an 11-year-old daughter and 10-year-old twins, a boy and girl -- live with Kim Stacy in West Liberty. John Stacy has been fighting for sole custody since the decree was issued.
On May 30, John Stacy cited the law in a motion seeking custody of the children. The custody fight was scheduled to be settled in a hearing this week, but was postponed Tuesday.
Jo Ann Wise, who was chairwoman of the Kentucky Bar Association's family law committee, said there was no need to change the law.
"Judges and lawyers alike, the people who do this for a living, were opposed," said Wise, who was hired to represent Kim Stacy after the custody challenge was filed. "It just came out of the blue."
The change was sponsored by Sen. Robert Stivers, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who acknowledged he did so on behalf of Stacy, a Democratic lawmaker since 1992 and chairman of an influential appropriations subcommittee.
Under the previous law, a noncustodial parent had to provide sworn affidavits that a child's physical, mental, moral or emotional health was seriously endangered in the current home.
The new law eases that burden with language that allows custody challenges based on "the best interests of the child."
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