While you may no longer want to be married to your spouse, it doesn’t mean you want to get stuck in a long, drawn-out battle in a Kentucky court, fighting over your kids. However, even if you and your ex get along well, you may not necessarily agree on every issue that is relevant to the care and well-being of your children as you move on in life, after divorce. You must resolve all child custody issues before you can achieve a settlement.
If you and your ex cannot resolve your differences regarding custody, the judge overseeing your case will make those decisions on your behalf. The court always has children’s best interests in mind when ruling on custody in a divorce. However, there are state guidelines and factors to consider that influence a judge’s decision.
Safety and well-being are primary factors in a child custody case
If you and your ex are going to litigate custody issues in your divorce, you must be prepared to demonstrate your fitness as a parent, especially if you are requesting sole physical and legal custody of your children. The judge will want to know if there is any history of domestic violence in your home. This includes physical abuse, as well as neglect, abandonment or emotional trauma.
Will a particular custody arrangement cause too much disruption?
If you hope to gain custody of your children in a divorce, your chances are best if the arrangement you propose will cause less disruption in your children’s lives than the arrangement proposed by your ex. For example, perhaps, if your kids stay with you, they can attend the same school and live in the same house in the same neighborhood that they did during your marriage. If they live with your ex, they will have to move to a new state and attend a new school.
Most family court judges believe that routine and stability are essential factors to help children cope with divorce. The less disruption there is to their daily routines, the better.
The physical and mental health of each parent
Another factor of consideration in a child custody case has to do with parental fitness. If your ex has a substance abuse problem, for instance, or is mentally unstable, you have a greater chance of winning sole custody of your kids. A judge will consider the mental and physical health of each parent before determining whether the children in question should live with one parent rather than the other.
In certain circumstances, you might determine it necessary to ask the court to modify an existing child custody order. In such cases, there will be additional factors of consideration, including your ability to show just cause, meaning that you have a legitimate reason for requesting modification of the court order.