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How is child custody determined after a divorce in Kentucky?

Kentucky parents who are divorcing have a right to devise their own visitation and custody schedules if they choose and are able to reach accord.

The problem is that if you and your children's other parent were of one mind on important issues, you might not be headed for divorce.

Kentucky family law courts, like those in other states, focus on what will be in the best interest of the children — not the parents. This doesn't mean that a parent's interests are completely ignored, however. It simply means that when those interests are juxtaposed, the court's decision reflects what is deemed best for the minor children.

With that in mind, it's helpful to understand what criteria the Commonwealth of Kentucky uses, under Kentucky's Revised Statute 403-270-2, when deciding upon visitation and custody:

-- Both the preferences of the parents and children

-- The minor children's relationships with their parents, extended family members and others of importance in their lives

-- Whether the kids would be around any registered sex offenders when in the custody of or during visitation with either parent

-- The adjustment of the children to their community, home and school(s)

-- How much of an impact it would be to alter the children's environment

-- Whether there are any negative elements in the children's live, e.g., past histories of child or spousal abuse, illegal drug usage, etc.

When the courts get involved, they must weigh all of these factors and come up with the best possible decision regarding visitation and custody of the minor children. The process can sometimes be lengthy, and the entire family may be ordered by the court to submit to a third-party, professional evaluation by a certified family therapist. The therapist will then submit a report to the court detailing the findings and custodial recommendations. In some instances, this could mean supervised visitation with a parent.

If all of this sounds rather daunting, remember that you and your family law attorney can work with your ex and his or her attorney and hammer out a parenting plan that best reflects your family's unique needs.

By working together alongside respective counsels of record, the two of you can devise a plan that takes into consideration one or both parents' rotating work shifts, vacation time and holiday preferences.

Source: Custody Xchange, "Kentucky Custody and Visitation Schedules," accessed May 03, 2017

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  • Kentucky Justice Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association 1871 Lex Ordo Justicia
  • United States District Court Western District Of Kentucky
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