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How is child custody determined in Kentucky?

| May 19, 2020 | Firm News |

Divorce is hard on children. Instead of living with both parents in one household, they must split their time between two. Shuffling back and forth may frustrate them. And parental tensions can exacerbate these difficulties. If you and your spouse are divorcing, you will want to understand Kentucky’s child custody laws. Learning them can help you work toward an arrangement that’s best for your children.

Kentucky presumes joint custody

Kentucky is the first state in the country to presume, by default, that divorcing parents will share custody of their kids. The state enacted this law to create stability for children of divorce. This presumption will serve as the starting point to your custody agreement. But other factors could influence the final decision, too. In creating an agreement, the court may also consider:

  • You and your spouse’s parental fitness
  • You and your spouse’s individual abilities to provide for your children
  • You and your spouse’s proximities to your children’s schools and activities
  • Your children’s wishes for their living circumstances

Exceptions to Kentucky’s joint custody law

Circumstances may preclude you and your spouse from sharing equal custody. But Kentucky’s law provides that the noncustodial parent can take steps to establish ample visitation rights. Yet, your spouse may have received a domestic violence order stemming from actions against you or your children. In this case, the joint custody provision would not apply. Furthermore, your spouse may have demonstrated unfitness to parent based on substance abuse or psychological instability. The court will likely allow you to deviate from the guidelines in these exceptional cases, too.

Kentucky’s joint custody law has made divorce easier on families in the state. It doesn’t take away the painful emotions that splits cause. But it provides stability that will benefit your kids in the long run.