Child Custody Visitation and Parenting Time
Louisville Kentucky Child Custody and Visitation Lawyer
What is the difference between child custody visitation and 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 definition of legal custody is unrelated to physical possession of the child and instead refers to the parent’s ability to make important decisions in the child’s life such as health care, education, religion and even extra-curricular activities.
Child custody visitation and parenting time are often contentious issues which require the guidance of an experienced, proven Louisville divorce and family law attorney.
What is the Difference Between Legal Custody and Physical Custody?
What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody? Why do these designations matter as you approach a divorce with children?
“Legal 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.
“Physical custody” is simply the right to have your child with you and to live in your home.
Legal and physical child 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 in these important decisions as well as significant time with each child. If the parties cannot jointly agree upon a decision or issue then the Court will usually 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 almost always 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 or 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.
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? We are often asked:
“How is child custody decided in a Louisville divorce?”
“What determines parenting time and how flexible can the schedule be?”
“How do I make sure I get my fair share of time with the kids?”
There are many questions on your mind and keeping you up at night. Get genuine answers to those questions and the peace of mind of learning more about the process. We invite you to contact Dodd & Dodd or call us at (502) 584-1108 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys.
Divorce and Child Custody Determinations
Louisville parents often work together to develop a shared child custody and visitation plan or “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.
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.
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(ren) 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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