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How to modify child custody in Kentucky

| Mar 21, 2020 | Child Custody

When a child custody arrangement no longer works for your family, you can request a modification to the plan through family court. In Kentucky, either parent can ask for a change in custody as long as two years have passed since the initial custody order. 

Learn more about the state’s process for modifying child custody. 

When parents agree 

If you and your former spouse agree on a change in custody, you can complete an agreement and submit it to the family court that issued your original custody order. Once you do so, the new agreement will replace your former agreement. Keep in mind that a significant change in custody can impact the amount of child support a parent pays or receives. 

When a change is contentious 

When the other parent does not agree on your desired custody change, you can petition the court for modification. The judge will hold a hearing at which both parents can present their positions. After, the judge will make a final, legally binding determination. The parent who requests the change must prove that custody modification serves the child’s most favorable interest. Factors in the judge’s decision may include: 

  • A change in either parent’s wishes for custody 
  • A change in the child’s wishes if he or she is 14 or older 
  • The current mental and physical health status of the child and both parents 
  • The child’s current relationship with and connection to home, school and community 
  • Any history of domestic violence in the home 

Custody modification is only available before the two-year mark in Kentucky in specific circumstances. The parent requesting the change must prove that the child currently lives most of the time with the parent who does not have residential custody or that the child is at risk for physical or emotional harm under the current custody order. 

In some cases, the judge may request a custody evaluation. With this process, a professional conducts a review and presents his or her findings to the court.