Child Custody

Louisville Child Custody Lawyers

Child custody is one of the most challenging issues in any Louisville divorce case.  What is child custody from a legal perspective and how is it different from “parenting time?”  How does a Louisville family law court look at child custody and how will your case be handled?  How can you accomplish your goals and objectives relating to the custody of your own children in a divorce?

There are two separate legal types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody.  It is important to understand the differences and distinctions associated with each.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to the party or parties with whom the child will live.  There are two types of physical custody: sole and joint.  Sole physical custody means the child will only reside with one parent.  This may apply in cases when the parents will not continue to live close to one another, or when challenges such as domestic violence or drug or alcohol addiction exist.

Joint physical custody generally means that the child will enjoy “continuing and frequent contact” with both parents.  In many cases, this will result in the child spending quality time in each parent’s home on a regular schedule.  From the court’s perspective it is important for the child to continue the normal patterns in their life, including school and extra-curricular activities.  In order for joint custody to be successful the parents will have to live close enough to one another to ensure the child is within the same school district and continues to participate in community activities.

Legal Custody

Legal custody provides the ability to make decisions on behalf of the child relating to education, health care and religious practices of the child as well as their welfare.  Just as the case with physical custody, legal custody can either be “sole” or “joint.”  The Court will usually award joint legal custody when the parents have shown the capacity to co-parent and work together, and when both are in regular contact with the child.

In cases where the parties cannot come to agreement on custody, or when one of the parties has relocated or abandoned the child the Court may order “sole legal custody.”  Sole legal custody is also often ordered in cases involving domestic violence, drug or alcohol addiction or criminal activity.

This may also be the case when the parents are fighting over every issue, and simply cannot come agreement.  If the parents are arguing over everything from religion to school, health and activities the Court may be forced to give sole legal custody to one of the parents.

How is Child Custody Usually Handled in Kentucky

In all cases these decisions are governed by what is in the best interest of the child.  The experienced child custody, visitation and parenting time lawyers at Dodd & Dodd Attorneys, PLLC work to advocate and protect the interests and goals of our clients.

While each case is different, most child custody cases result in some form of split or shared physical and legal custody.  Much will depend upon the actions of each party and the dynamics associated with their previous and ongoing relationship.  The court will usually consider many factors including the requests of each parent, the parenting skills of each party, the relationship of each child to each parent, and the proximity of each parent’s home to the existing rhythms of the child’s life.

The judge or magistrate may also seek the input of the child based upon their age and level of maturity.

In collaborative divorces and uncontested divorces the parties provide an agreed upon plan regarding physical and legal child custody for the court to review and approve.  In a contested divorce these issues are often settled in negotiation conferences or mediation.  If the matter is brought before a judge or magistrate the parties will have to rely on a total stranger to decide what is best for them and their children.  This reality often leads to a negotiated solution.

The Experience and Skill of Your Attorney Will Have an Effect on the Success of Your Child Custody Case

Child custody is one of the most emotional issues associated with any divorce involving children.  This issue will have a profound impact on the quality of your life after the divorce as well as the life of your child(ren).  The experience, skill and expertise of your lawyer will make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.  This is why it is important to work with Dodd & Dodd Attorneys, PLLC who have served the greater Louisville area since 1869.

We invite you to review the recommendations of our clients, and contact us or call (502) 584-1108 to discuss your situation and perhaps schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys.