Divorce is never easy and seldom entered into lightly in Kentucky, especially when young children are involved. While there are many issues that need to be settled and negotiated in a divorce, child custody can be one of the most challenging. It can be fraught with emotion, and the well-being of the children, which should be the first consideration, can get lost in the ensuing conversations. Understanding custody in a legal sense may be helpful.

There are two parts to custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child spends the majority of his or her time. Legal custody involves who has the right to make decisions for the child. These decisions include who makes decisions on issues ranging from school trips to health care decisions. Legal custody can be shared meaning each parent has equal say in making decisions.

If a couple has an amicable split, shared legal custody can be a good solution. While the best interest of the child should always be paramount, that can be difficult if a couple cannot agree. In such an instance, the court may have to step in to resolve the issue. To save a child form the stress of parental conflict, parents can choose to work with a mediator who serves as an impartial third party. Parents may select a trusted family member or counselor that they can both agree on.

Making the decision to end a marriage when young children are involved is possibly one of the most heart-wrenching experiences in a family’s life. Decisions regarding child custody should be made with great care and with the best interest of the child in mind. A person in Kentucky who finds himself or herself in such a situation could benefit from seeking the counsel of a family law attorney. A lawyer can review the family dynamics and help with arriving at an arrangement that is optimal for all the parties involved.