In Kentucky, the courts are required to determine custody based upon the best interest of the child(ren). Usually, parents will share joint custody of the children and will share 50-50 parenting time with the children. However, depending upon the circumstances, this may not always be the case.
There are two types of custody: Joint Custody and Sole Custody.
Joint custody is where two parents share joint decision-making for the child(ren), usually major life decisions such as surgery, education or religion. For day to day-to-day decisions affecting the child, usually the parent who has the child on their possession makes those decisions. Parents who are joint custodians must agree on major life decisions.
Sole custody is where one parent is granted custody of the children. This parent, called the custodial parent, will be the sole decision maker for the children’s’ needs. They will decide where they live, who will be their doctor/dentist, what school they will attend, what activities/interests they will pursue, etc.
Custody is determined based upon a “best interest” standard. The court will hear all the evidence and then will issue an order as to what the court believes is in the best interest of the children.
The courts are required to be neutral when determining custody of the children and should not consider the sex of the parent when making that determination
Child custody is always modifiable. However, after the initial child custody determination, a party may only seek to modify within the first two years if the child’s physical, emotional, or mental well-being is at stake. After the two-year period, the court can modify custody if it is in the best interest of the child.
Though custody may be joint, sometimes one parent may still have to pay child support to the other. Child support attempts to make both households as equal as possible. Therefore, even if there is joint custody, when one parent earns significantly more money than the other, they may have to pay child support.
Visitation is a set schedule of your time with the children. It will usually set the time and the days that you get to see your children without the other parent. A parenting plan is a plan set by both parents on how they want to parent their children after the divorce is final to ensure that there is consistency between both households. A parent may not refuse visitation if child support is not being paid. Child support is not a payment that ensures that a parent gets to see the child. If a parent does not pay child support, they may be held in contempt of court, and if a parent refuses to allow the other parent to see the child, they may also be held in contempt of court.
There is no legal age that a child gets to decide where they want live. A child being a minor is presumed not to be mature enough to make that types of decision, regardless of how mature they may appear. The court may consider may the wishes of the child when making its decision, but in the end, the court will decide what is in the best interest of the child.