In 2018, Kentucky became the first state to establish — by law — the idea that shared parenting and joint custody is automatically the best option for children when their parents are divorced. While the law is unique, the trend toward shared parenting and joint custody is not. There’s been a gradual shift away from the idea that it’s better to have two equally-involved parents in a child’s upbringing.
But what if you’re absolutely certain that shared parenting is not the best for your child? You’re not worried about trivial issues, like what time their other parent puts them to bed or whether their other parent takes a liberal view when it comes to cake for breakfast. You’re genuinely concerned about their ability to parent — and worried about your child’s safety.
Well, even though the law establishes shared parenting as the “default option,” it does allow for rebuttals when a parent is opposed to the plan. You may be able to prevail on the judge to order a different arrangement when:
- The other parent has a history of domestic violence
- The other parent has a significant mental health issue
- The physical distance between you makes shared parenting impossible
It’s important to also understand some of the limitations of these exceptions. For example, an incident of domestic violence that did not affect your child in any way may not be used to deny custody to the other parent. That means that — even though your worries might be valid — an incident involving your ex and their new partner that happened while nobody else was around might not be considered weighty enough to the court to deny your ex custody.
Despite the goals of the law, custody issues in Kentucky continue to be complex. Make sure that you have an experienced advocate on your side as you move forward.