Kentucky Custody and Visitation Schedules
In Kentucky, you can create your own custody and visitation schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules, calendars, and professional parenting plan documents.
Becoming familiar with the laws pertaining to child custody is essential prior to creating a child visitation schedule in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It will ensure that your child visitation schedule complies with the law and adheres to the policies of the court.
These laws can be found in Kentucky Revised Statutes, Chapter 403.00, Dissolution of Marriage - Child Custody.
Within these statutes, you will discover that Kentucky's primary concern when ruling on family law cases involving children is promoting and protecting the best interests of the child.
You will also learn the factors the court uses to determining the child's best interests and how cooperating with the other parent will impact your case.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky considers the best interests of the child when determining child custody and visitation (KRS 403-270-2).
The court considers the following factors when determining what is in the best interest of a child:
- The wishes of the parents and of the child as to custodianship
- The child's relationships with the parents and other important people in the child's life
- The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community
- The impact altering the child's environment would have on him or her
- Any harmful elements in the child's life, such as any evidence of spousal or child abuse
- Whether or not the child would be exposed to a registered sex offender when in contact with either parent
The court considers all other relevant factors and rules in a manner that ensures the custody arrangement and child visitation schedule are what are best for the child.
When you can set your differences aside and work together to create a child visitation schedule, it is certainly in the best interest of your child.
As parents, you have an intimate knowledge of your child and are better qualified to determine your child's needs than a judge who does not know him or her.
If you cannot or will not reach an agreement regarding a parenting plan and a child visitation schedule, the court make one for you. The court may even order an investigation and a report concerning the custodial arrangements of your child (KRS 403.300), and rule as it sees fit.
This may not be convenient for everyone or address your child's specific needs. It is always better to compromise and reach an agreement for the sake of the child.
When you can work together as you create the schedule, you can evaluate each other's availability and any needs your child may have and create a child visitation schedule that permits your child to spend the optimal amount of quality time with each of you.
It is in the best interests of a child to have ongoing, frequent, and continual contact with both of his or her parents, so you should try to create your schedule accordingly.
Even if you do not share joint custody, the parent not granted custody is entitled to reasonable visitation as long as that visitation would not endanger the child (KRS 403-320).
"Reasonable visitation" doesn't mean that you have to divide your time with the child equally, but a child seeing one parent for only two days every two weeks doesn't seem very "reasonable", either.
The key is to go over several scenarios in order to find a schedule that works best for all of you.
The child custody and visitation schedule typically consists of three parts, which are:
- A residential schedule
- A holiday schedule
- A vacation schedule
You may also include any provisions or stipulations that you feel will help you implement the schedule.
The residential schedule dictates the times and the days your child will spend with each of you on a regular basis.
This can be as simple as your child spending 3-4 days per week with each parent, or two days per week with one parent and five with the other. It can be as intricate and as unique as your child is.
Evaluating the availability of the parents is important. If one parent works every weekend, it makes more sense that your child spend that time with the parent that is free than in a daycare. If the non-custodial parent's workday ends two hours before the other parent's, it may be appropriate for your child to spend that time with a parent rather than with an outside caregiver.
It is important that the child feel loved and wanted by both parents, and that both of you share in the rights and responsibilities of raising the child.
Optimizing your schedules to maximize the amount of time the child spends with each of you is an effective method of maintaining your child's best interests.
A holiday schedule takes precedence over the regular schedule and delegates when and with whom your child will spend holidays and other special days.
Many parents choose to simply trade off on the holidays during the year and alternate them each year, but you may choose to allocate the time as you feel will benefit your child the most.
Family traditions can play an important role in the holiday schedule. If you have different religions, it would make sense to have your child spend time with the parent that actually celebrates a holiday rather than to simply shuffle the child back and forth according to a calendar.
Any day can be included in the holiday schedule as long as you agree upon it. Birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, three day weekends and even teacher work days can be included.
A vacation schedule should include the times your child is out of school for winter, spring, and summer breaks, and provide each of you with some extended time with your child in order to have vacations.
Flexibility is important when creating the vacation schedule, as your personal vacation time may not be foreseeable. A method of notification, such as the amount of advance notice one parent must give the other, can be included.
The top fifteen cities in Kentucky (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: Louisville, Lexington, Owensboro, Bowling Green, Covington, Richmond, Hopkinsville, Henderson, Florence, Frankfort, Nicholasville, Jeffersontown, Paducah, Elizabethtown, Radcliff.