Child Custody Lawyer in Lexington, KY
Protecting Your Parental Rights
You do everything in your power to be the best possible parent. If you are separating or divorcing, having a well-structured child custody and time-sharing arrangement is important to provide your children with a stable, nurturing environment.
At Fowler Bell PLLC, our child custody attorneys have the skill to diligently and intelligently protect your parental rights and your relationships with your children while helping you develop a child custody plan that works.
Call (859) 252-7600 to arrange a consultation with one of our top child custody lawyers in Lexington.
Types of Child Custody
Kentucky law recognizes two types of custody; physical custody and legal custody.
Physical custody determines where the child will live regularly. Courts prefer that both parents share physical custody but recognize a sole physical custody arrangement if it is in the child’s best interests. If sole physical custody is awarded to one parent, he or she is referred to as the “custodial parent.” The other parent or “noncustodial parent” will typically be given visitation rights.
Visitation gives a parent the right to see their child, usually on a set schedule. Joint custody, sometimes referred to as “shared parenting,” doesn’t necessarily mean both parents have the child for the same amount of time. Many arrangements aren’t 50/50 due to factors such as:
- Whether both parents live close to each other
- The parents’ work schedules
- The parents’ wishes
- The child’s age and school schedule
- The child’s wishes if they are deemed to be old and mature enough
A parent has legal custody when they have the right to make important decisions about their child’s health and well-being. These decisions include the child’s:
- Mental and emotional needs
- Sports and extracurricular activities
As with physical custody, courts can award sole or joint legal custody, depending on the best interests of the child. Generally, sole legal custody is given when the other parent is deemed unfit. An unfit parent is one who fails to provide the child with the appropriate level of care, support, and guidance. Issues that may contribute to inappropriate care include:
- A history of domestic violence or sexual abuse
- An addiction to drugs or alcohol
- Past child abuse or neglect
- An existing mental health condition
Need help with a child custody matter? Contact our Lexington child custody lawyers at (859) 252-6700.
How Lexington Courts Determine Child Custody
Child custody matters are some of the most emotionally charged and highly contested matters in family law. Sometimes, parents can’t agree on a custody plan and must leave the decision up to a Lexington family court. When the judge is tasked with determining a child custody arrangement, they will follow a plan they feel is in the child’s best interest. Factors they consider include:
- Child’s relationship with each parent
- Child’s wishes if they are at an appropriate age and level of maturity
- The parents’ wishes
- Parental involvement
- The physical and mental health of everyone involved
- The child’s safety
- The child’s relationship with their siblings and others living in each household
- The proximity of the parents’ residences
- Anticipated adjustment to the child’s new home, school, and community
- Parents’ ability to cooperate with one another
- Parents’ willingness to support the child’s relationship with the other parent
- Whether there is a history of domestic abuse or neglect of either parent
- Prevention of past custody or visitation by either parent
Answers to Common Child Custody Questions
The short answer is that it depends. While some joint custody cases will result in no child support, many will still include some sort of child support plan. Contact our child custody attorney for more information.
In Kentucky, children are not deemed mature enough to decide their custody agreement, but if the child is old enough, the courts might consider their wishes among other things. Child custody will ultimately be the decision of the parents or guardians and the court until the child reaches legal age.
Contrary to popular belief, Kentucky courts are not allowed to favor a parent based on sex. Instead, the courts must make a child custody determination based solely on the best interests of the child. Most courts prefer a shared or joint custody arrangement unless they feel it might not benefit the child.
Speak with a Lexington Child Custody Attorney Today
No matter which path you follow, your journey toward responsible parenthood starts with sound legal advice and planning. We can help you lay the foundation for healthier relationships with your children, your ex, and the court system. Call (859)252-6700 or contact us online to arrange an initial consultation.