What Is the Best Interest Standard for Child Custody?

One of the hardest parts of the divorce for couples with children is going from a house with children in it all the time to having one’s children around only half of the time. Unfortunately, this is the reality most couples face after their divorce is finalized. One way to ease the process is for couples to agree on the parenting plan and child custody themselves and present it to the court for approval. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to come to this decision and the matter is often left up to the courts.

When a court gets involved in custody decisions in Kentucky, it bases the decision on the best interests of the child. While this means court definitely look at the children’s and parent’s wishes, it also means that the court can consider a number of other factors. These can include the parent’s ability to parent, the emotional bond between the parents and the children and the difficulty a child would face when adjusting to a new environment. Additionally, courts can look at religious and cultural preferences, interactions with other members of the household, the age and sex of the child and any special needs the child might have.

Courts also look at the parent’s histories. Is there a history of drug or alcohol abuse? Do the parents use excessive disciplinary tactics or emotionally abuse the child? Is there a pattern of abuse or domestic violence in the house? Courts take a holistic view, with an end to ultimately ensuring the children’s wellbeing and safety.

It often falls on the parents to demonstrate their arguments, including proof of abuse or violence in the house. This can be overwhelming for someone already struggling to come to terms with the end of their marriage. It might help to consult an experienced attorney to discuss one’s options for establishing a child custody award that is in the child’s best interests.

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