Man reunited with his daughter

Understanding Child Custody in Kentucky

If you have questions about child custody in Kentucky, Chapter 403 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes says that the court determines custody after considering the child’s best interests and consideration is given to both parents. Joint custody, or custody that’s awarded to both parents, is customary. The Court presumes that the parents are entitled to equal parenting time with the child unless there are circumstances that would make such equal custody not in the best interest of the child.

Best interest in Kentucky means the Court considers any child custody matter in the perspective of what’s best for the child. The Court isn’t bound by what other relevant parties—parents, grandparents, siblings, or anyone else—wishes in the custody outcome.

Child Custody in Kentucky

The Court encourages separating and divorcing parents to become co-parents who commit to working together in the goals of raising their child(ren). Parents must prepare and submit a parenting plan that details the proposed terms & conditions of the couple’s parenting objectives after divorce.

If you have questions about your Kentucky child custody case, you need an experienced family law team. Contact the family law team at (270) 200-6326 today.

When the separating parents can’t agree on a co-parenting plan, the Court may intervene to resolve matters of custody, division of parenting time, and support. Three basic types of custody arrangements are available in Kentucky, including 1) sole custody; 2) joint custody; and 3) de facto, third party┬ácustody.

The laws of Kentucky consider the pertinent or relevant factors in child custody, such as:

  • The child’s current family relationships—the parents, the child’s siblings, the grandparents, or any individuals who may impact the child’s best interests
  • The child’s ability to adjust to a new community, school, and home
  • The parents’ preferences or wishes regarding custody
  • Physical and/or mental health of all parties involved
  • Sometimes a non-parent who has provided and cared for the child for an extended period of time may be found to have custodial rights and be designated a de facto custodian by the Court after a hearing.

Required Parenting Class in Kentucky

The Court has required that divorcing parents caring for minor children complete a parenting class before divorce is granted in Kentucky.

Custody Types in Kentucky

The Kentucky Family Court may choose to grant one parent sole custody with visitation to the non-custodian or joint custody to both parents with parenting time shared equally or otherwise in the best interest of the child.

The laws of Kentucky favor joint custody. A joint custody arrangement allows both parents to make equal decisions about their child’s religious upbringing, education, medical care, and the like.

Kentucky Law Favors Joint Custody

The laws of Kentucky express the preference for both the child’s parents to share custody of a child. It’s considered the best possible custody arrangement in most cases for the child. This custody arrangement allows both parents to continue the important child-parent relationship. Joint custody won’t be granted if the child’s well-being is at risk with one or both parents.

Third-Party De Facto Custody

The Family Court sometimes must hear a third party’s case when considering the custody of a child. In third-party custody, someone other than his or her biological parents wants to gain custody. In legal terms, this individual is known as a de facto custodian. This individual may be the child’s grandparent(s) or another person other than the parents. A de facto custodian is usually someone who’s acted as the primary financial supporter and caregiver for an extended period of time.

Under the laws of Kentucky, a person may be considered a de facto custodian if: (1) the child resided with them for at least six months (if the child is less than three years old), (2) at least one year if the child is at least three years old or older, or (3) if the custody arrangement is considered best for the child by the Department of Community Based Services.

Conduct of the Parents

One or both parents may be deemed unfit if abuse or neglect towards the child or substance abuse is determined. In addition, the Family Court considers both parents’ conduct throughout their marriage and the effects of their behavior on the child or children.

Your Child Custody Matter

Child custody is often a bitter battle between divorcing parents. Don’t leave your child custody matter to chance in Kentucky. Contact our experienced child custody team today by filling out an online contact form or give a call at (270) 200-6326 to request your complimentary case evaluation.