WomensLaw sirve y apoya a todas las personas sobrevivientes sin importar su sexo o género.

Información Legal: Kentucky


Leyes actualizadas al 15 de noviembre de 2023

Can a parent who committed violence get custody or visitation?

Under Kentucky law, the judge is generally supposed to assume that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child unless a party convinces the judge otherwise. However, the judge will not assume that custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child if a domestic violence order is being issued or was issued against a party by the other party or on behalf of the child at issue in the custody hearing.

In addition, regardless of whether there is a domestic violence order or not, the judge must consider any finding (determination) by the judge that domestic violence and abuse have been committed by the other parent against you or against a child of the parties. The judge would look at the extent to which the domestic violence and abuse have affected the child and the child’s relationship to each party. However, the judge will also give consideration to efforts made by a party towards the completion of any domestic violence treatment, counseling, or program.1

The law says that a parent who is not granted custody is entitled to reasonable visitation rights unless the judge finds (after a hearing) that visitation would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.2 If the judge determines that there was domestic violence but the judge believes there should still be visitation, s/he should make a visitation arrangement which would not seriously endanger the physical, mental, or emotional health of the child or of the abused parent.3

Note: If either you or the other parent requests it, the judge is supposed to issue an order that specifically lays out how often visitation should be, how long the visits are, when it should take place, the conditions for the visits, and a method of scheduling visitation. The order should also reflect the development and age of the child.2

Often it is best to have a lawyer represent you in a custody case, especially one involving domestic violence issues. For legal organizations, see our KY Finding a Lawyer page.

1 KRS §§ 403.270(3); 403.315
2 KRS § 403.320(1)
3 KRS § 403.320(2)

If my child was conceived from sexual assault, can the offender get custody or visitation?

If the offender was convicted of a felony offense related to rape/sexual assault that caused you to conceive your child, the offender cannot get custody or visitation rights unless you specifically ask the judge to order visitation rights. Such a request for visitation rights, however, can only be made by a mother who is age 18 or older. In addition, the offender will be ordered to pay child support unless you do not want it. However, you can only give up (waive) child support if you are age 18 or above. If you are a minor, child support can only be waived by your guardian or a de facto custodian of the child.1

The offender also loses the right of to inherit any money with respect to the child.2

1 KY ST §§ 405.028; 403.322
2 KY ST § 403.322(2)

If there is a custody order in place, can I relocate?

If there is an order of joint custody and either parent wants to relocate, s/he has to file a written notice of relocation with the court and have it served upon the other parent. If the parents do not agree to the relocation, either parent can file a motion for change of custody or time-sharing within 20 days of when the notice of relocation was served. If both parents agree, they can make a written agreement to modify the time-sharing and file an “agreed order” with the court.1

If there is an order of sole custody and the sole custodian wants to relocate, s/he has to file a written notice of relocation with the court and have it served upon the other parent. If the court-ordered visitation would be affected by the relocation, the non-custodial parent can file a motion objecting to the change in visitation within 20 days of when s/he was served with the notice.2

1 Kentucky FCRPP 7(2)(a)
2 Kentucky FCRPP 7(2)(b)

Si me mudo a otro estado, ¿puedo transferir mi caso de custodia allá?

Es posible que en algún momento se mude con sus hijos/as del estado donde se dio la orden final de custodia. Para información sobre cómo solicitar que se transfiera el caso de custodia a un nuevo estado, por favor vaya a Transferir un caso de custodia a un estado diferente, en nuestra página general de Custodia. Sin embargo, es importante tener en cuenta que es probable que necesite obtener permiso de la corte o de el/la otro/a padre/madre para mudarse de estado. Por favor hable con un/a abogado/a para asegurarse que sus planes de mudanza no violen su orden de custodia o las leyes de secuestro parental de su estado.

Where can I find more information about custody in Kentucky?


Legal Aid Network of Kentucky provides general information about custody issues in Kentucky, including what happens if both parents agree on parenting time, information on moving with a child, and more.

The Kentucky Bar Foundation has prepared a Pro Se Child Custody/ Parenting Time Instruction Packet and Forms to help parents file for custody on their own and represent themselves in court. It’s important to note that parents who represent themselves in court will be held to the same standards that lawyers are, and will have to follow the same rules. If you have any questions or concerns about representing yourself, please contact a lawyer before filing.  

Please note that WomensLaw.org is not affiliated with either of the organizations listed above and cannot vouch for the information contained on their sites.