Most parents who go through a divorce worry most about what will happen to their children. While there are the emotional and psychological implications that divorce can have on your kids, you’re probably also concerned about what your time with them will look like once your marriage dissolution is wrapped up. This is understandable, as the amount of time you get to spend with your kids and the quality of that time can have a tremendous impact on your relationship with them.
Hopefully you’ll be able to negotiate a child custody arrangement that you and your spouse agree is best for your children. But if you can’t come to an agreement, then the matter is destined to be litigated in court, meaning that your child custody arrangement will be decided by a judge.
How the court makes its custody decision
Looking at the big picture, the court will make a custody decision that it thinks is in the children’s best interests. That said, Kentucky Statute 430.270 creates a “rebuttable presumption that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in a child’s best interests.” Therefore, that will be the court’s default position.
If you think that a custody order should be issued that deviates from that presumption, then you’ll need to be prepared to argue the best interest factors. These include the following:
- The child’s wishes
- The parents’ wishes
- The relationship and bond between the child and each parent
- The relationship and bond between the child and any siblings that are residing in each parent’s home
- How a given custody arrangement will affect the child’s schooling and social connections
- Each parent’s physical and mental health
- Each parent’s willingness to facilitate ongoing contact between the child and the other parent
- Any history of domestic violence
- Any history of abuse or neglect perpetrated upon the child
There may be a lot of other issues that you can raise in your case, too. For example, exposure to parental substance abuse can negatively impact your child, thereby justifying a deviation from the statutory presumption that joint custody is in your child’s best interests.
How should you present your case?
One of the most important things to remember in your case is that you can’t rely on emotional arguments alone. Sure, there are emotional components to a divorce and a custody dispute, but you’re going to need facts and evidence to support your request. Therefore, you might want to consider whether any of the following can help support your position:
- Text messages
- Police records
- Medical records
- Mental health records
- Schooling records
- Accounts from friends, family members, and school personnel
- Conversations that you’ve had with your child
You’ll want to be as thorough as possible here, too. Otherwise, you might miss something that could be key to your case. So, make sure you’re taking a close look at every issue that might come up in your custody case. Be sure to pay attention to not only those issues that demonstrate the other parent’s shortcomings, but also matters that the other parent might try to use to paint you in a bad light. That way you can effectively counter those arguments.
Be prepared going into your custody dispute
The outcome of your custody dispute can have a tremendous impact on your children. That’s why you’ll want to be as prepared as possible going into court.
Although that might seem daunting, you can prepare yourself well ahead of time so that you can rest assured that you’re making the best arguments possible in your case. By doing so, you’ll hopefully be able to protect your children’s best interests and your relationship with them as fully as possible.