The reality under Kentucky law and the application of that law in our Family Courts is simple: there is no bias to the mother when the parents of a child are married. Therefore, in a divorce scenario the Court will approach questions of child custody and parenting time based upon the “best interests of the child(ren).”
The best interest of a child includes, but is not limited to:
- The wishes of or agreements between the child’s parents
- The nature of the relationship between the child and each parent
- The ability of each parent to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical care and a safe environment for the child
- The ability and disposition of each parent to foster a positive relationship and continuing contact with the other parent and communicate and cooperate with each other.
- The child’s relationship with any other person who may significantly affect the child
- Prevention of domestic violence, neglect or abuse
Child custody is usually determined first by the parents. If the parents agree to a child custody and parenting plan the Court will almost always defer to that agreement. Mediation is an effective and private venue for resolving differences between the parties in a divorce or post-decree regarding child custody and parenting time disputes.
Absent an agreement of the parents, the Court is to determine what is in the best interest of the child(ren). The gender of a parent is not an acceptable criteria in evaluating what is in the best interest of the child(ren). The old myth that mothers have an advantage in child custody and parenting time cases is long gone.
However, the laws of child custody and parenting time remain squarely in the control of an unmarried mother until the father asserts his legal rights through a paternity action.
Have you heard that mothers have an advantage in child custody and parenting time cases? Are you concerned about protecting your rights and goals as a parent in divorce?