Types of Child Custody in Kentucky: Legal vs. Physical Custody

child custody

Understanding Kentucky’s child custody laws is crucial when navigating custody disputes. You need to be able to protect the rights and interests of both yourself and your children. By familiarizing yourself with the different types of child custody that Kentucky courts can award, you may better understand your legal options moving forward.

How Is Custody Defined in Kentucky?

Custody refers to the legal right and responsibility to care for and make decisions on behalf of a child. Custody is usually decided by a judge when parents get divorced, when parents are unmarred but cannot agree to custody, or sometimes between a child’s parents and a third party. 

Different Types of Custody in Kentucky

There are several different types of custody in Kentucky. A brief overview of each one is included below: 

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to the parent who has physical control over the child most often. The child spends or lives the majority of the time with this parent, and the parent is responsible for taking care of the child’s needs. 

Legal Custody

Legal custody awards a parent the right to make long-term decisions about raising a child and critical aspects of their welfare, including educational, religious, cultural, and health decisions. 

Temporary Versus Permanent Custody

Depending on the circumstances of the case, custody can also be permanent or temporary. Generally, the court will award temporary custody during a divorce or paternity case. A temporary custody award will usually lead to a contested hearing where the court will have to decide on whether to give permanent custody to both parties or one of the parties. 

Sole Custody

In a sole custody situation, only one parent will be granted the ability to make educational, medical, cultural, religious, and other decisions for a child without needing to check in with the other parent. 

Joint Custody

Joint custody means that both parents can make decisions together about what is best for their child or children. In this arrangement, one parent, known as the primary residential parent, is the one the child lives with most of the time. However, both parents still have the right to make decisions regarding the child.

How Will a Judge Decide on Custody?

In some cases, both parents can work together to come to a fair agreement about their custody arrangement. However, if they cannot agree, the court may have to intervene. In such situations, the court will make a custody decision based on the evidence and witness testimony presented.

In addition, in Kentucky, the courts will always consider a child’s best interests when determining custody. For instance, a judge will usually presume that joint custody is in the child’s best interests until proven otherwise, as it is usually in the children’s best interest to have both parents in their lives. In addition, a court will also consider the following factors before awarding custody:

  • The physical and mental health of the parents and the child
  • A child’s relationship with each parent
  • Any evidence of domestic abuse
  • The reasons why each parent requested custody
  • The likelihood that a parent will allow the child to continue contact with the other parents
  • A child’s adjustment to their community, school, and home
  • Other relevant factors 

Ultimately, the court will consider all of these factors to determine what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child.

To Learn More About the Different Child Custody Arrangements in Kentucky, Contact Hoffman Walker & Knauf Today 

To learn more about child custody in Kentucky and the legal options available when filing for divorce, contact Hoffman Walker & Knauf today.