Most of the time, one parent has custody of the child in McCracken County. The child lives with the parent who has custody, and that parent takes care of the child every day. The parent who doesn’t have custody of the child usually has parenting time or visits with the child.
Even if the child lives with the parent who has custody, that doesn’t mean the other parent doesn’t have any say in how the child is raised. That depends on who has the child legally.
Different kinds of custody in Kentucky
Both parents are usually given equal rights when it comes to child custody unless a judge decides that this is not in the best interest of the child. When a child has joint custody, both parents have an equal say in how the child is raised. For example, they decide together about the child’s education, religious upbringing, medical care, and extracurricular activities.
But a judge could give one parent sole custody. If you have sole custody, you have the legal right to make all decisions for the child without taking the other parent’s opinion into account.
For example, a judge might find a parent unfit if they have a substance abuse problem or domestic violence. In that situation, the judge usually gives sole custody to the other parent.
Both physical custody and legal custody can be divided into joint custody and sole custody. This means where the child lives and spends most of their time. Legal custody is the right to decide what is best for the child.
Even when both parents have custody, one parent has the most responsibility. That parent takes care of the child. A child can feel stable and safe when they have a main home.
The parenting plan shows who has custody of the child and when the other parent can see the child or stay with the child overnight. The parenting plan sets up how the two parents will work together. If the parents can’t agree on the terms of the parenting plan, the judge makes the decision based on what the child needs and what is in the child’s best interest.
How Do Judges Decide What's In The Best Interest Of The Child?
When parents can’t agree on where the child should live, the judge hears testimony from both of them. A child custody evaluator and guardian ad litem may also give their opinions to the judge.
The court must take into account the following:
- How well the parents work together, talk to each other, and agree on things that have to do with the child.
- How many children live in each home and how old they are
- How much and what kind of time each parent spent with the child before and after they split up?
- Where the child’s school is.
- Each parent’s responsibilities and work hours
- If a child has special needs,
- The child’s choice is based on what is right for his or her age
- How fit both parents are
- The stability of the home environment and how close the parents’ homes are to each other.
- Any history of abuse at home
- The physical safety of the child
The judge may also look at other things when deciding what is best for the child. A judge puts the best interest of the child ahead of what the parents want. So, if a judge decides that it is in the best interest of the child for the parent who has physical custody to have sole legal custody, the other parent will not be able to make important decisions about the child’s life.
Custodial Parent And Child Support
In Kentucky, every parent is expected to help pay for their child’s needs. The state has child support guidelines that help judges set payments that are fair and enough. Child support is based on the gross income of each parent, the number of children, and the amount of time each parent spends with each child.
The court can go against the rules if the judge thinks the rules are wrong. For instance, the judge could change the rules based on the needs of the child or the situation of the parent. In the final order, the judge must explain why they didn’t follow the child support guidelines.
Custody Conflicts Are Hard On The Family
Sharing joint custody can sometimes be hard. Parents might not always agree on what is best for their children. They might think that giving them sole custody is best for the child.
Custody battles can take a long time and cost a lot of money. It’s possible that the result is not what either parent wanted. Instead, it is usually better for the child if the parents work together to make a parenting plan that works for the whole family.
Negotiation and mediation are two alternatives to going to court in child custody cases. A child custody lawyer could help you figure out how to settle a custody dispute in the best way for you and your child.