According to a study from the Pew Research Center, nearly one-quarter (23%) of children in the United States under the age of 18 live in single-parent households. Determining which parent gets child custody rights in a divorce case can be a contentious battle. If you are considering a divorce, or already in the middle of the process, and trying to understand how to establish a child custody arrangement, it is imperative that you speak with a knowledgeable Kentucky family law attorney as soon as possible for guidance.

At Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, our attorneys are committed to providing experienced legal services and comprehensive guidance on all family law-related legal matters, including divorce and child custody. Whether you are trying to establish child custody arrangements or modify an existing custody order, our firm can offer you the knowledgeable legal counsel and advocacy you need to navigate any legal challenges you may be facing. Our team will work diligently with all parties involved to address your needs, protect your rights, and do all that we can to help you and your family move forward.

Caleb Bland Law, PLLC is proud to serve clients throughout Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and the surrounding communities of Radcliff, Shepherdsville, Bardstown, and Brandenburg.

How to Establish a Child Custody
Arrangement in Kentucky

Child custody can oftentimes be a complicated matter in divorce or legal separation. When awarding custody rights, the Kentucky court diligently protects the child's best interest and welfare. The parents involved in the divorce will have two options to resolve child custody issues:

Uncontested Custody

An uncontested agreement offers a quick, cost-efficient, and generally smooth method to establish child custody. Here, both parents will work together to agree on the terms and conditions of child custody that are mutually acceptable. The agreed-upon terms will be presented to the Kentucky court for official approval. The uncontested option also enables both parents to have more control over the final decision. Working with a knowledgeable attorney throughout this process can help keep the conversation productive and help both parties reach a resolution quickly.

Contested Custody

In a situation whereby both parents are not able to determine mutually acceptable custody terms, there may be a need for the family court to intervene. The presiding judge will listen to both parties and establish a custody arrangement while protecting the welfare and best interest of the child. An experienced child custody attorney can help present your case meticulously and improve your chances of receiving a favorable outcome.



Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody

In Kentucky, there are two types of child custody – legal custody and physical custody.

Physical Custody

According to Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 403.800 (14), physical custody refers to the parent who has the child's physical care and control. The child will live with the parent who has been awarded physical custody.

Legal Custody

Legal custody refers to the parent who has the right and responsibility to make important life decisions on the child's behalf. The parent who has been awarded legal custody will be responsible for making crucial decisions about the child's education, health care, culture, religion, and other important life matters.

Additionally, custody can be awarded as sole or joint in Kentucky. However, Kentucky custody laws require the judge to assume that joint custody is in the child's best interest. This enables both parents to be actively involved in the child's life.

Which Factors Will Be Considered
When Determining Custody?

According to Kentucky Revised Statutes § 403.270 (2), when determining custody, the presiding judge must use the "best interest of the child" standard. This means that the following factors are often considered when attempting to determine what is best for the child:

  • The wishes of the child and parents for custody

  • The physical condition and mental health of all parties involved

  • The interaction and interrelationship between the child, parents, and other siblings,

  • The motivation of each parent who is seeking a contested custody hearing

  • The ability of the child to adjust to a new home, school, and community

  • The willingness of one parent to establish communication and continuing contact with the other parent

  • Any evidence, record, or history of domestic abuse, neglect, or drug use

How to Modify an Existing
Child Custody Arrangement

Before seeking a modification, Kentucky law requires the parents to wait for at least 2 years after the initial decree. To modify an existing child custody order, the requesting parent must show that:

  • There has been a significant change of circumstances since the initial order.

  • The present environment of the child may endanger the child's mental, physical, emotional, or moral health.

The following are some major life events that may provide the opportunity to request a child custody modification:

  • Involuntary loss of job

  • Changes in the parent's marital status

  • Child abuse or neglect by either parent

  • Relocation

  • Medical condition

  • Failure of the other parent to hold up their end of the agreement

  • Substance abuse

Work With Experienced Child Custody
Attorneys in Elizabethtown, Kentucky

Determining child custody in Kentucky often involves a lot of complex legal procedures. Establishing child custody arrangements, allocating visitation periods, and agreeing on parental responsibility can quickly become overwhelming for many parents. That’s why it is so important to consult with an experienced Kentucky family law attorney who can provide comprehensive guidance and protect your family's future.

At Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, our attorneys have devoted their careers to offering affordable and reliable legal services to individuals and families facing divorce and child custody. As experienced child custody attorneys, we can guide you through the process of establishing or modifying custody arrangements. Our team will review the unique circumstances of your case and address your needs and concerns with compassion and complete dedication. We will work tirelessly to protect your rights and do all that we can to help you move forward as quickly and amicably as possible. If you or someone you know is facing a difficult child custody battle, call our office today to receive the detailed legal guidance and advocacy you need.


If you are trying to establish or modify a child custody arrangement, contact Caleb Bland Law, PLLC today for a one-on-one consultation. Our experienced family law attorneys will offer you the comprehensive legal counsel and advocacy you need to navigate the key decisions in your child custody case. We’re proud to serve clients throughout Elizabethtown, Radcliff, Shepherdsville, Bardstown, and Brandenburg, Kentucky, so call today to get the legal counsel and support you deserve.