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Child Custody Lawyers Elizabethtown, KY

Child Custody – where the best interest of the child is paramount!

What does Custody Mean?

Custody is the determination as to which parent will have the authority to make major decisions concerning the child or children involved.

Types of Custody:

  • Joint Custody: Joint decision-making power with one parent being primary and the other having visitation;
    • parents share joint decision-making power for the child, usually for major life decisions. For the everyday decisions affecting the child, usually the parent who is in possession of the child makes those decisions, but when a major life decision affects the child, such as surgery, education or religion, parents who are joint custodians must agree on those decisions.
  • Shared Custody: Joint decision-making power with equal parenting time
    • In shared parenting, children get to see both parents equally.
  • Sole Custody: Sole decision maker
    • one parent is granted custody of the children and will be the sole decision maker for the children. The parent with sole custody decides where they live, what doctor to see, what school to attend, etc.

As is the case all over the nation, Kentucky uses several factors to determine child custody. The court primarily considers the best interests of the child when making custody decisions, and the state has gone on record that it believes joint custody is in a child’s best interests. A law was passed in April 2017 providing for joint custody as the preferred norm for temporary custody orders, those orders that remain in effect while a divorce is pending until a more permanent custody order can be finalized.

Even if you believe that you’re the only parent who has the best interests of your child in mind, the courts might have a different view. Parents who want to file for child custody in Kentucky should become familiar with the state’s best interest factors. 

The Best Interests of the Child

A family court in Kentucky determines custody based on best interests of the child factors that include the wishes of the parents, the child, and the child’s relationship with each parent as well as with his/her siblings and extended family members. The court will consider the child’s adjustment to their current home, school and community and how uprooting them might affect them, and the mental and physical health of all involved parties. The court will also take any history of domestic violence into consideration.

Visitation and Child Custody in Kentucky

A parent who is not granted custody of their child is entitled to reasonable visitation rights unless the court finds that visitation will endanger the child’s physical, emotional, mental or moral health. The court will order a parenting plan determining the timing and frequency of the noncustodial parent’s visitation.

Parents can agree to their own parenting plan, but if they can’t reach an agreement, the court will most likely fall back on the standard, default visitation schedule for school age children in Kentucky which is usually: every other weekend from Friday at 6 p.m. until Sunday at 6 p.m., along with overnight visits on Thursdays or Tuesdays during each intervening weeks. The state encourages reasonable telephone contact as well.

Modification of Child Custody in Kentucky

A court in Kentucky will not change a child custody order that’s less than two years old unless the parent requesting the change can prove that the child’s present environment may seriously endanger their physical, mental, moral or emotional well-being. The court will also intervene and change an order that’s less than two years old if the custodial parent has placed the child with a de facto custodian –  living with someone other than the child’s parents. 

Prior to modifying a custody order, the court will consider whether the parents agree to the modification and how well the child is integrated into the family

Have a custody question but don’t know your options?

Custody problems arise and we are here to help!

(270) 900-0533

We have more than 30 years of experience in law and we have worked on
hundreds of cases. Every case is very important.