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In Kentucky, a court’s decision about child custody starts with the assumption that a joint custody arrangement in which each parent gets equal time with the child is in the best interests of the child. This means that if a parent wants a different type of arrangement, the burden is on the parent to prove that this would be best. An exception to this is if there is a domestic violence order issued by one parent or on the child’s behalf.

Domestic violence and child custody

In cases of domestic violence, a judge will take several elements into account. This includes how much the violence has affected the child and the child’s relationship with both parents. A judge will also consider whether the parent accused of domestic violence has gone through counseling or treatment. If the judge believes that allowing the abusive parent access puts the child or other parent in danger, the abusive parent may not be allowed access.

Other considerations

Judges take many factors into consideration when deciding how to award custody if shared custody and equal time seem to be inappropriate. The child’s relationship with both parents, the parents’ wishes and the child’s wishes are among these factors. Others include how well the child is likely to adjust, how close the child will be to school and the mental and physical health of the parents.

A court might grant an abusive parent supervised visitation, meaning that the child is allowed to have limited contact with the parent with a third party present. There may be situations in which parents agree that it is not in the child’s best interest to have equal time and work out an agreement that can be approved by a judge. For example, one parent might have a work schedule that would make it difficult to have equal time with the child.