Kentucky law encourages parents to work out custody arrangements themselves without bringing the issue to court. If they cannot come to an agreement, courts make custody decisions based on what is in the "best interest" of the child. Typically, the courts favor joint custody, although sole custody may be granted under certain circumstances.
What Is a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is a detailed, written agreement that sets out how divorcing parents will share legal and physical custody of their children. In Kentucky, parenting plans are completely voluntary. If parents cannot agree on a plan, the court will evaluate their case and assign custody.
What Does the Court Consider in Assigning Custody?
Kentucky courts balance a series of factors when determining the best interest of a child. These factors include:
- The child’s age and gender,
- Who has been the child’s primary caregiver,
- The physical and mental health of the child and parents,
- The history of contact between the parents and the child,
- The importance of sibling and other familial relationships,
- Evidence of child abuse or spousal abuse,
- The child’s reasonable preference (if age appropriate), and
- The parents’ wishes.
A parent’s gender is not considered as a factor. In a custody dispute, a guardian ad litem may be assigned to advocate for the child and help assess his or her best interests. Additionally, Kentucky has statewide visitation and parenting guidelines. These guidelines help structure parenting time and visitation rights.
What Happens When the Court Has Made a Decision?
Once the parenting plan and divorce order are signed, they are filed with the court clerk. Both parents are then bound by the approved custody order and the court must approve any modification of the plan.
Should I Contact a Kentucky Lawyer Regarding my Custody Issues?
Child custody disputes can be emotionally charged and require a detailed understanding of the law. If you have concerns about custody and parenting time, it is important that you speak with an experienced child custody lawyer. A lawyer will help advocate for you and your child and work to secure the best possible parenting arrangement for your family.