Custody can be one of the most difficult aspects of family law. It can be highly emotional and can result in two parents finding themselves at odds as to what they think is in the best interest of their child.
Custody in Kentucky
In Kentucky, there are only two types of custody, sole and legal. When people often think of custody, they are in fact discussion parenting time, which is discussed below. Custody refers to decision making ability for the children, especially when it comes to the major life decisions regarding your children, such as medical, educational and religious.
With sole custody, the parent who is awarded sole custody is the sole decision maker for the children. They can decide where the child will attend school or what medical procedures the child will undergo, without consulting the other parent.
With joint custody, the parents must work together with decision making for the children. For example, when the child reaches school age, the parents must decide together which school the child will attend. One parent will not get to make the decision without consulting the other parent.
Custody is determined by the Court using the best interest of the child standard, outlined in KRS 403.270. The factors that the Court must consider are:
- The wishes of the child's parent or parents, and any de facto custodian, as to his custody;
- The wishes of the child as to his custodian;
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parent or parents, his siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests;
- The child's adjustment to his home, school, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
- Information, records, and evidence of domestic violence as defined in KRS 403.720;
- The extent to which the child has been cared for, nurtured, and supported by any de facto custodian;
- The intent of the parent or parents in placing the child with a de facto custodian; and
- The circumstances under which the child was placed or allowed to remain in the custody of a de facto custodian, including whether the parent now seeking custody was previously prevented from doing so as a result of domestic violence as defined in KRS 403.720 and whether the child was placed with a de facto custodian to allow the parent now seeking custody to seek employment, work, or attend school.
This is often what people are thinking about when they use a word like "custody." The parenting schedule determines whose home the children will reside on any given day. In Kentucky there is default presumption when it comes to parenting schedule, however, the Kentucky Legislature, just amended KRS 403.280, to create a presumption of equal parenting schedule when a Court makes a temporary parenting schedule. A temporary parenting schedule is the parenting schedule that the parties will follow during the divorce/custody action. A temporary parenting schedule should not be considered by the Court when making a final decision, however, it can affect the final decision of the Court.
KRS 403.280, does not create a presumption of equal parenting in the Court's final decision for parenting schedule. In order to determine a parenting schedule a Court is to consider the best interest of the child, which is outlined above when discussing custody.
The parenting schedule is a very important part of a change that can affect your family. It is important to have an attorney who can discuss with you different types of schedule, work with you regarding your schedule and how a parenting schedule makes sense for you. No two parenting schedules are alike, as your busy life and your children's busy life can affect the ultimate schedule.