Divorce and Child Custody
Friday, May 12, 2017
Divorce is a difficult process for all involved. The emotional and financial realities of the dissolution of a marriage can have long term effects on the parties. When children are involved, the process can take an even greater toll on the parties. While it is generally the exception, that in the process of divorcing a spouse, a parent also relinquishes his or her relationship with his or her children, even when the parents believe they have their children’s best interest in mind, there may still be disagreements over what exactly is in their “best interest”.
During my initial meeting with a party who is contemplating a divorce, I spend a great amount of time addressing misconceptions about the term custody, whether it be sole or joint, and how custody differs from parental “time-sharing”.
In Kentucky, the law references custody as being either sole custody or joint custody. The difference is primarily in the control over the decision-making process for the children. When a parent has sole custody, he or she is vested with the decision-making process as to education, religion and medical decisions without input from the other parent. When the parties share joint custody, it is expected that both parents will participate and discuss educational opportunities, medical providers and foster the children’s religious foundations. Kentucky courts have expressed a preference for joint custody, and it is often the extreme case where one party is granted sole custody over the other party.
What many people mistakenly refer to as “sole custody” is really the concept of time sharing and residential placement. How much time is the child or children going to spend in each parent’s home? What county or school district are the children going to attend and who is going to be responsible for transportation to and from extra-curricular activities and who is responsible for taking a day off work when the children are sick or school is not in session?
In most cases, with the assistance of counsel, and sometimes a third party mediator, the parties enter can enter into a separation or visitation agreement which outlines these details with the specificity necessary for each particular case. Separation and visitation agreements are not a template and need to be modified to meet the needs of the parties, and more importantly the “best interests” of the children.
Custody and visitation are complex subjects that require an experienced family law attorney. An experienced and effective domestic attorney, can separate the emotional implications of the process from the legal and provide candid and informed advice to his client. When fully informed, a client can generally obtain a result which is truly in the children’s “best interest” while also minimizing the conflicts which parties often face when proceeding through the divorce process. Don’t leave the safety of your child to anyone you don’t trust. Call Knoebel and Vice today and we’ll help you during this difficult time.
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