Louisville Kentucky Child Custody Lawyer
What is the difference between child custody and visitation or parenting time in the context of a Louisville divorce? Child custody in Kentucky is often confused from the common perception of the term versus the legal meaning. Most people believe custody means physical possession of the child such as where the child will live. By contrast, the legal definition of custody is unrelated to physical possession of the child and instead refers to the parent’s ability to make parenting decisions.
Even the Courts sometimes confuse these terms when they use terms such as “physical custody” in reference to physical possession of the child. Without using terms such as “physical” custody relates to the rights of a parent to make parenting decisions regarding the welfare of a child including but not limited to:
- Health Care: Choice of doctors your child sees, medicine your child takes
- Education: What school your child goes to, whether your child is home schooled.
- Religious Practices: What church, synagogue or mosque your child attends.
- Extra-Curricular Activities: What sports or activities your child participates. How many activities your child participates and when the child participates in such activities.
Custody is usually classified as either “Sole” or “Joint.” Sole custody allows an individual parent control over decisions associated with the custody issue at hand and to make the decision over the objection of the other parent. Joint custody means that both parents are legally empowered to share equally in these important decisions and if they cannot jointly agree then the Court will decide.
In some cases, the child may not reside with either biological parent, and the Court may award physical/residential or legal custody to another person.
Kentucky law also recognizes “Shared Parenting” in that the parents more evenly share all aspects of rearing their child(ren) including time at each home. Kentucky Judges are looking for strong evidence that these arrangements are in the best interest of the child. The parents must demonstrate that they have and will maintain a good working relationship based upon cooperation and effective communication. Shared Parenting requires both parents to live in close proximity to one another so that the child(ren) can attend the same school and enjoy a lifestyle that is consistent with their experience during the course of the marriage.
Parenting Time and Visitation
Sometimes Kentucky Judges may prefer to limit the movement of children between households. Parenting time or visitation give the non-custodial parent [the parent who does not have primary residence of the child(ren)] legal access and orders to visit a child.
Kentucky law is focused upon the best interests of the child, and this usually means quality time with each parent in the absence of domestic violence, addictions or criminal activity.
A parenting time or visitation schedule can be sought in a paternity (unmarried parents) or divorce action. We will help you explore your options and alternatives as you assert your rights to parenting time or visitation. We are also experienced in handling visitation rights for grandparents and other third-parties.
Divorce and Child Custody Determinations
Kentucky parents often work together to develop a shared parenting plan and present it to the Court. This provides the maximum amount of flexibility and control for many parents while retaining the natural rhythms of family life.
If the parents are not in full agreement at the time of the divorce and they have not reached a negotiated or mediated settlement, the Judge will frequently order a custodial evaluation of each party, their partners and the children by a psychologist. Based upon this report, the Court will decide both custody and parenting time of your child(ren) that will determine where your child will reside and go to school as well as which parent or parents have the right to make decisions regarding the child’s well-being.
At Dodd & Dodd Attorneys, PLLC, our experienced family law attorneys have worked with a number of custodial evaluators and will help you select the best custodial evaluator for your case. We take a comprehensive approach to understand your objectives regarding your desire to continue parenting and remaining active in your child’s life. We work to protect your child’s best interests as well as your objectives in a custody dispute. Our experienced child custody and visitation attorneys know how to collect necessary evidence and documentation to support your case from negotiations through trial.
Relocation and Move Away Child Custody Cases
Kentucky Judges take a dim view of parents who move out of the area or out of state with a child without seeking the permission of the Court. These cases are immediate in nature, as the issues of legal “venue” can change away from Kentucky within a matter of weeks or a few months. If the other parent has taken your child and relocated away from the area without permission of the Court you must take immediate action and contact us to preserve and protect your parental rights, and to ensure that our Kentucky Court maintains jurisdiction over your case.
Contact Experienced Louisville Parenting Time and Child Custody Attorneys
What is more important than your child or children? If you are concerned about child custody, visitation or parenting time or considering divorce we invite you to call today at 502-584-1108 or contact Dodd & Dodd Attorneys, PLLC by email to schedule an appointment with an experienced Louisville child custody and visitation lawyer.
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