Child Custody Laws in Kentucky

It is important for co-parents to prepare themselves for their child custody agreement and possibly their court date. Kentucky child custody laws prefer that co-parents come to an agreement on their own when deciding their custody arrangement. Take this task seriously because you will most likely have to stick to your custody agreement for a long time.

Kentucky child custody laws allow you and your co-parent to be in control

Kentucky child custody laws encourage co-parents to create a child custody arrangement outside of court that they can both agree on. The courts often suggest that a mediator be present when discussing a possible custody agreement with your co-parent. They are able to provide you with additional advice and information that may help you and your co-parent to reach a manageable agreement. These mediators are typically an attorney or another family law professional. They can also help to keep you and your co-parent focused on what needs to be accomplished. The sad truth is that many co-parents bring their children into their arguments to be used as weapons, when in fact they are the very things that co-parents should be trying to protect. This can severely affect the child’s physical and emotional health if they are exposed to these arguments.

How will the Kentucky child custody laws determine your arrangement?

If an agreement cannot be reached by the co-parents or a custody discussion has not been attempted the court shall determine the best custody arrangement based on what they believe is in the best interest of the child. Kentucky child custody laws hold the best interest of the child over everything else when determining an appropriate custody agreement. It should also be noted that initially each co-parent will be given equal consideration for custody of the child, and only after the court observes and assesses the situation will a decision be made. Kentucky child custody laws and courts consider the following factors to aid them in determining what is in the best interest of the child.

  • The wishes of both of the co-parents as well as any de facto custodian of the child.
  • The wishes of the child depending on both their age and maturity level.
  • The relationship between the child and each co-parent as well as any other individual who may significantly affect the best interest of the child.
  • The mental and physical health of the child and co-parents.
  • Which co-parent or de facto custodian has acted as the primary caretaker for the majority of the child’s life.
  • Any history of violence or criminal offences by either co-parents or a de facto custodian.

Types of custody granted by the Kentucky child custody laws

Kentucky child custody laws and courts allow for both sole custody and joint custody. These can be applied to both physical and legal types of custody. Physical custody has to do with the day-to-day care of the child. Legal custody has to do with the important decision making for the child. If a co-parent is granted sole custody it will typically mean that they have both physical and legal custody of the child, while the other co-parent is given some sort of visitation rights to the child. Joint custody can be awarded to the co-parents or to the co-parents as well as a de facto custodian of the child. A de facto custodian is an individual who is proven to be the primary caretaker and financial supporter of the child. Kentucky child custody laws require that a child under the age of three to have lived with their de facto custodian for at least six months, and for a child over the age of three they require at least one year.

This information is not to be used as legal advice. For additional aide and legal information please consult with a Kentucky family law professional regarding Kentucky child custody laws. For a list of resources in Kentucky visit our Helpful Links – Kentucky page. The OurFamilyWizard website® is dedicated to providing co-parents with the tools and resources they need to easily manage their custody agreements.


NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.