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What Are the Different Types of Child Custody in Kentucky?

There are different types of child custody that the Kentucky courts can award. It is important to familiarize yourself with them if you are going through a divorce as child custody will be an issue that you must resolve. Today, we will go over the different types of child custody in Kentucky and what you need to know about them.

Physical custody

Physical custody refers to the parent who will have physical control over the child on a day-to-day basis, which includes taking care of the child’s needs.

Legal custody

Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make important decision on behalf of the child, including religions, educational, cultural, and health decisions.

Custody can also temporary or permanent, depending on the factors of your case. The court typically awards temporary custody during a paternity or divorce case. A temporary custody award will lead to a contested hearing where a judge will then decide to give permanent custody to one or both parties.

Sole custody

In a sole legal custodial situation, only one parent is granted the ability to make medical, educational, religious, cultural, and other decisions for the child without needing to consult the other parent.

Joint custody

Joint custody is where both parents decide what is right for their children together. Often, one parent will be the primary residential parent, or the parent that the child lives with most of the time. Still, both parents are given the right to make decisions for the child.

How Do the Courts Decide Child Custody?

The Kentucky courts must always consider the child’s best interests when determining child custody. If child custody is contested, the court will host a hearing to gather its own evidence. A judge will presume that joint custody is in the child’s best interest until prove otherwise as it is typically in the child’s best interest to have both parents in his/her life. The factors the judge will consider before awarding custody are as follows:

  • Mental and physical health of the child and parents
  • Child’s relationship and interactions with each parent
  • Reasons each parent requested custody
  • Evidence of domestic abuse
  • Child’s adjustment to home, school, and his/her community
  • Likelihood each parent will allow the child to continue contact with the other parent
  • Any other factors the judge deems relevant

Unfit Custodial Parent

There are some custody cases where a parent is proven unfit to care for their child. Under Kentucky law, a nonparent can step in and prove that the custodial parent is unfit. While this is difficult, it is possible. To do so, the nonparent must prove that the parent is unsuitable and harmful, has signed an agreement to surrender custody, or that the parent is unqualified to claim custody.

Additionally, a nonparent could become a de facto custodial if the child is under the age of 3 and has lived with this parent for 6 months or lived with them for 1 year and is over the age of 3.

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