If you’re like most parents in Kentucky, then you’re child’s safety and wellbeing is your number one priority. Your second priority is building and/or maintaining your relationship with your child. When you are divorced or your child was born out of wedlock, then your ability to obtain those priorities are dictated in large part on your child custody and visitation arrangement. So, when addressing these matters you need to make sure that you understand the law and how to present the best evidence possible in favor of your position.
The child’s best interests
You’re always free to negotiate a child custody arrangement with your child’s other parent, but when you’re unable to reach an agreement a family law judge will decide the matter for you. Since the judge knows very little about you and your family, he or she will rely on evidence that is presented to the court to make a decision that is in the child’s best interests. But what goes into a best interests consideration? The following are considered:
- The child’s wishes
- The relationship between the child and each parent
- The mental health of each parent
- The physical health of each parent
- The financial stability of each parent
The law indicates that the court can consider all relevant factors, though, which really opens the door to a lot of facts to be presented to the judge. A history of domestic violence and substance abuse can certainly be relevant, and so, too, can the extent of your child’s needs in conjunction with each parent’s ability to meet those needs.
Take a holistic approach to your case
You’ll certainly want to present evidence that shows why a court should issue a child custody order that is in line with your wishes, but you’ll also need to be prepared to defend yourself against any arguments made by the other side. Therefore, you really need to take a holistic approach to your child custody case. This might mean gathering testamentary and documentary evidence in addition to skillful negotiation and litigation. Fortunately, though, competent family law attorneys stand ready to help you build the case that you need to protect your child and your relationship with him or her.