Divorcing parents may have many concerns about the child custody process which is why it is helpful to know how child custody decisions are guided in Kentucky. The best interests of the child standard guides all child custody decisions and divorcing parents should understand what that means for them and for their child.
What is in the child’s best interests is determined by evaluating a host of factors and is different in each situation. The standard is used to arrive a child custody arrangement that is best for the child and provides for the child’s safety and well-being. Factors used to determine what is in the best interests of the child include:
- The ability of each of the parents to parent;
- The wishes of the parents;
- The wishes of the child;
- The emotional bonds of the child with each of the parents;
- What is would be like for the child to adjust to a new community or school;
- Any evidence of child abuse or other forms abuse and some other factors.
Both physical and legal custody of the child must be determined using this standard. Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with and legal custody refers to which parent makes important decisions for the child. A time-sharing or visitation schedule will likely be worked out.
Parents are encouraged to work out child custody according to what is in the best interests of the child and to do so amicably. If they are unable to do so, that family law court will determine what child custody arrangement is based on the same factors. Because of the importance of child custody for the child and the parents, it is useful to be familiar with the child custody process in Kentucky.