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Explaining Kentucky’s Custody Laws


Introduction to topic

Kentucky law regarding shared parenting and child custody changed in July 2018.  The new July 2018 child custody law presumes “that joint custody and equal shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child.” 

While joint custody is a goal of many divorcing parents, a 50/50 custody schedule is not a one size fits all solution.  Each family unit is unique and 50/50 custody may not be the right fit for your family. This article will help explain the law and things to consider if you are planning to divorce.

Staying out of “Post-Decree Hell”

All too often, divorcing couples can get caught up in the moment and lose sight of the ongoing co-parenting arrangement that they are creating.  When working through the complexities of child custody arrangements, your goal should be to create an agreement that is the “floor” for required arrangements and not the “ceiling”; a workable custody agreement that will withstand the change of time as your children get older.    

This is where an experienced family lawyer can help. An experienced family lawyer will help you to create an agreement that has enough detail to eliminate conflict from your life but not so much detail that you find yourself in a “living hell” trying to live by the complexity of the parenting agreement 

A good custody agreement will create the guidelines and the tools for a peaceful post-decree life with your co-parent.  Having an experienced attorney with the foresight and experience to anticipate the future parenting decisions and knows how to make those as conflict free as possible.  

Parenting Schedule

While Kentucky law provides for 50/50 child custody, that might not be appropriate for your family.  It’s important to work out a parenting schedule that fits your children. Things to consider are the child’s life needs and each parent’s work schedule.  For example, if one parent has to travel frequently, having a typical 50/50 schedule may not work so a balanced schedule needs to be found that does work.  

A well defined parenting schedule will include holidays and summer vacation.  It will also create future guidelines on how to discuss and agree upon natural childhood activities.  

These parenting guidelines vary depending upon what will work best for the divorcing couple involved.  In one case a parenting guideline might involve setting up quarterly meetings to review calendars and arrange schedules.  In another case it might be necessary to create guidelines for the communication tools to be used between two parents.  It is important to find the right process for each set of co-parents so the children are not exposed to parental discord. 

Child Support and Division of Children’s Expenses

While determining who pays child support is fairly straight-forward,  it doesn’t include payment for all children’s expenses.  Division of additional expenses needs to be separately determined.   Your family lawyer will help you to map out a process for the reimbursement and sharing of children’s expenses that are not included in child support.   

Parenting Time/Visitation

In cases where there is not 50/50 parenting schedules, the non-custodial parent is still entitled to visitation rights.  Visitation is only restricted when visitation with a parent would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health.

Special Needs Children  

In addition to the daily parenting of special needs children, it is important to understand the financial implications involved with a special needs child’s care.  If you are the parent of a special needs child, make sure that the family lawyer you choose has a strong knowledge of government assistance and any associated tax laws.  


Serving the residents of Kenton County, Campbell County and Boone County, the law office of Jackson Family Law is ready to help you with your family law issues.  At Jackson Family Law you won’t get lost in the shuffle. Our service oriented staff is highly organized and highly responsive, promptly responding to all client communications.   

About Jackson Family Law

Jackson Family Law has been serving the families of Northern Kentucky for 24 years.  

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