Legal Information: Kentucky


September 21, 2017

How will a judge make a decision about custody?

A judge will make a decision about custody based on what s/he thinks is in your child’s best interest. According to Kentucky law, when determining what is in the best interest of the child, the judge will look at:

  • The wishes of the child’s parent(s) and any de facto custodian as to the child’s custody;
  • The child’s preference for who s/he wants to live with;
  • The interaction and relationship the child has with his/her parent(s), siblings, and any other person that might significantly affect the child’s best interest;
  • The child’s adjustment to his/her home, school and community;
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
  • Information, records and evidence of domestic violence;
  • The extent to which the child has been taken care of by any de facto custodian;
  • The intent of the parent(s) in placing the child with a de facto custodian;
  • The reason(s) the child was placed under the care of a de facto custodian (i.e., if the parent seeking custody had to leave the child to find work, attend school, etc.); and
  • Whether the parent now seeking custody was previously prevented from doing so as a result of domestic violence.1

De facto custodian” means a person who has been the primary caregiver for, and financial supporter of, a child who has resided with the person for a period of six months or more if the child is under three years of age and for a period of one year or more if the child is three years of age or older (or has been placed by the Department for Community Based Services).2

Note: If you leave the family home as a result of physical harm or if you were seriously threatened with physical harm by the other parent, this is not supposed to be held against you. 3

1 KRS § 403.270(2)
2 KRS § 403.270(1)(a)
3 KRS § 403.270(4)