When a couple with children decides to obtain a divorce, one of the most common questions they will have concerns custody of the children. In Kentucky, there are two types of custody that will be decided: physical custody and legal custody.
Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions about the child’s medical care, education and general welfare. This is not to be confused with physical custody, which refers to the person with whom the child will reside. Legal custody can be either sole or joint custody. With sole legal custody, one parent has the legal right to make all decisions that impact the child’s welfare; if the parents share joint legal custody, both parents work together to make decisions on behalf of their child as to education, health care and other needs.
Physical custody arrangements can also be sole or joint. If one parent is the primary custodian of the child, the child will reside with that parent while the non-custodial parent will have visitation rights. With a joint custody arrangement, the child will spend part of the week with one parent and the rest of the week with the other parent. This is where some creativity can come into play to ensure that both parents share time with their child.
When a couple decides to divorce, a parent has the right to explore the custodial arrangements that best meet the needs of the child while also providing that parent with the appropriate amount of time and responsibility for decision-making on the child’s behalf. An attorney with experience in family law may be able to negotiate a settlement with the other parent’s attorney or pursue appropriate custody arrangements in court.