Child Visitation Laws in Kentucky

By Valerie Stevens

Any parent who does not have custody of a minor child is entitled to visitation with the child, according to Kentucky law. However, a judge will limit or deny visitation if the court finds that visitation is not in the best interests of the child. For instance, a parent who is accused of abusing alcohol in the presence of the child could lose his visitation rights. Kentucky also gives grandparents the option to petition the court for visitation rights, which is not possible in every state.

Guidelines

Parents have the option to set the visitation schedule in most cases, but the court will determine the schedule when parents cannot agree or in a case where domestic abuse has been alleged. Kentucky courts usually base the schedule on the Model Time-Sharing/Visitation Guidelines published as an appendix to the Family Court Rules of Procedure and Practice. The guidelines suggest a detailed visitation schedule that includes holidays, birthdays, school breaks and summer breaks. The guidelines also provide suggestions for communication between parents, travel plans, telephone visitation and parental behavior in front of the child.

Factors

The primary consideration Kentucky courts use in establishing a visitation schedule is what is in the best interests of the child. The court will take into consideration the age and health of the child, the size of the home, other people in the home and any circumstance that affects the child’s well-being. Visitation might be affected by allegations of drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence or sexual abuse. Kentucky judges have the option to interview a child in chambers or consult with a professional to aid in decisions on child visitation.

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Limitations

Kentucky courts will deny or limit visitation only when visitation is a serious threat to the child's physical, mental, moral or emotional health. In such cases, the court might order daytime visitation only or supervised visitation, when a specified adult stays in the presence of the noncustodial parent and child during the visit. The court has the authority to deny visitation to a parent who is convicted of killing the other parent, unless the convicted parent proves in a hearing that allowing visitation is in the best interests of the child.

Changes

As the child ages, the visitation schedule often needs to change. One parent can ask the court to change the schedule or both parents can agree to changes. If the parents agree and submit a new schedule in writing to the court, they will not have to go before a judge. However, one parent cannot change the schedule or withhold visitation without the permission of the other parent or the court. If the custodial parent does not allow the noncustodial parent to have visitation, the noncustodial parent can file a contempt complaint against the other parent. A contempt ruling could result in extra visitation to the noncustodial parent or a fine and possibly jail time for the custodial parent. The custodial parent does not have the option to withhold visitation if the noncustodial parent is not paying child support.

Grandparents

Kentucky is more liberal than many states in considering grandparent visitation. Kentucky grandparents can petition the court for visitation with grandchildren if the parents will not allow it. The petitioning grandparent must show only that it is in the best interests of the child to be considered by the court. The court will take into consideration such factors as the relationship or visitation between the grandparent and the child and the relationship between the grandparents and the parent. However, established grandparent visitation will not be affected by a termination of the parent’s rights.

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Kentucky Child Vistitation Laws

References

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How to Stop Visitation Rights by the Biological Father in the State of Kentucky

All states require that custody decisions be made according to a child's best interests. Kentucky is one of only a handful of states that specifically itemizes factors judges should consider, including the emotional and physical health of each parent, the child's relationship with each parent, and any history of domestic violence. To sever visitation rights, you must demonstrate that doing so is in the child's best interests.

Parental Visitation Rights in New Jersey

Public policy in New Jersey holds that both parents should be regularly involved in their child's life. When one parent has sole custody of the child, the other parent is usually granted visitation. Even in cases where domestic violence or mental health issues are present, New Jersey offers supervised visitation programs to ensure children still have contact with both parents.

New York State Supervised Visitation Laws

Supervised visits in New York are ordered by a county Family Court or Supreme Court when a visit with a non-custodial parent -- the parent who doesn't have custody -- could be physically or psychologically dangerous for the child. The number of requests for supervised visits has risen greatly in recent years, as more and more cases of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect flood the court system. If you worry that your child is at risk during visits with his non-custodial parent, you can petition the court for an order of custody and visitation. The court has the authority to order supervised visitation if it approves the petition.

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