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Kentucky Child Custody Laws

When parents split up, the family court often has to help determine child custody issues. If parents are unable to reach an agreement on their own, the court decides who the child or children will live with, who gets to make the major life decisions for the child (such as educational or health decisions), and what visitation will be like with the non-custodial parent and possibly grandparents.

Kentucky bases its child custody decisions on the best interests of the child standard. The judge considers many different factors to determine what is best for the child, including the parents' wishes and ability to parent, the child's wishes, the emotional bonds between the child and both parents, and how hard a time the child would have adjusting to a new neighborhood or school. Domestic violence and child abuse can impact who the child lives with because it can affect the child's well-being.

This article provides a brief overview of child custody laws in the state of Kentucky.

Child Custody Laws in Kentucky: At a Glance

The table below details the main child custody laws in Kentucky.

Code Sections § 403.010 et seq. of the Kentucky Revised Statutes
Year Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Adopted 2004
Joint Custody an Option? Yes, Kentucky has the rebuttable presumption that joint custody and equal timesharing (in all new custody cases/divorces with children) is in the best interest of the child
Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized? Yes, Kentucky allows it but you must show clear and convincing that it would harm the child to cut off grandparents' visitation rights
Child's Own Wishes Considered? Yes, Kentucky does consider the wishes of the child but does not have a choice until the age of 18

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Confused About Kentucky Custody Laws? An Attorney Can Help

Child custody cases can be emotional and confusing for all parties involved. The most important aspect of deciding which parent can retain custody is figuring out what is in that child's best interests. If you have additional questions or need expert counsel for your child custody case, get in touch with a Kentucky family law attorney today.

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