Child Custody Basics. Sole Custody vs Joint Custody

In this post we will discuss the 2 legal types of child custody and what they mean.

Potential clients often call wanting information on how they can get custody of their child(ren).  Usually after some initial questions, we find their main concern is how much time they get to spend with their child(ren).  This aspect is call “timesharing” or “parenting time” and is a separate legal concept, which will be discussed in different post.

There are two (2) types of legal custody in Kentucky:

  1. Joint Custody

Joint custody is where BOTH parents have EQUAL decision making power regarding the major issues concerning their child(ren)–not necessarily the day-to-day issues.  What this means, is parents need to have discussions on things concerning what school their child(ren) will attend, or what daycare they will attend; non-emergency medical care for their children (ex: things like braces or therapy), religious upbringing, and where their child will live.  If there is a disagreement between parents on these issues, then motions need to be filed so you can get in front of your judge OR into mediation to try and resolve the issue.

2. Sole Custody

Sole custody is where only one parent makes those major decisions (as outlined above) and that parent does not need the consent of the non-custodial parent.  However, this does not mean that the custodial parent does not communicate with the non-custodial parent.  The non-custodial parent still has their parental rights.  As such, they are entitled to information concerning their child(ren). The custodial parent needs to inform the non-custodial parent about schooling issues (report cards, school functions, parent/teacher conferences), medical care (when appointments are, what doctors/dentists the child sees), what extra-curricular activities the child(ren) is involved in and a schedule of those events and contact information for the person(s) in charge of that activity.  What we tell clients who have sole custody is that if there is information that you would want to know as a parent, you need to provide that information to the non-custodial parent.

Keep in mind that custody may or may not effect a parent’s timesharing/parenting time schedule. Legal custody is all about who makes the decisions for major events in their child’s life.


Stay tuned on more about timesharing/parenting time!

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