Question : Can my child testify during a divorce or custody case? Despite many rumors and myths to the contrary, in Kentucky, probably not. While there is a statute that allows a Court to interview a child in camera (in chambers) to elicit specific testimony, the interviews are rare in my experience and often unnecessary considering the other options a family court here has at its disposal.

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Attorney Holly Houston Maintaining Calm during a divorce

People cry in my office regularly. Custody and parenting cases — the fear of losing a child or control of a relationship — can turn even the most emotionally solid people into hot messes with low impulse control. As a Kentucky family lawyer for 21 years, I regularly witness people who lie, cheat and steal. I’ve seen images that can’t be unseen and watched parents and partners use email and text to “bomb” and gut punch each other under the guise of communicating about the kids.

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what's in the best interests of the child when parents divorceWhen Kentucky lawmakers passed an equal parenting time and joint custody presumption law that went into effect in the summer of 2018, I don’t recall it asking the family law bar our thoughts or seeing much opposition. Maybe it was because many of us anticipated it and several Judges in Jefferson county were clear they were “half time Judges” prior to its passage.

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When a couple files for divorce and children are involved, child custody issues arise.  It’s not uncommon for clients to ask, “Does the child have input into custody decisions?”  Basically, do their child’s wishes relating custody play into the judge’s determination?  There’s also a common misconception surrounding this question.

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It’s not uncommon for divorced parents to decide to change the parenting schedule.  Deviating from the original schedule outlined in the divorce decree may need to happen as the children grow older and begin to get involved in other activities.  Complications can arise when these changes are made, even if both parties agree, but the court is unaware of the new schedule.

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Domestic violence is a major issue in divorce cases involving children.  As a Louisville divorce attorney, I’m frequently asked, “Does domestic violence impact child custody?”  Sometimes it’s the spouse who hopes to protect herself and her children from an abusive partner.  In other situations, if may be a spouse who’s concerned the other spouse may intent to make accusations of domestic violence in an effort to gain an advantage.

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Divorce cases understandably involve perspectives from two different sides of the situation.  In an effort to reach a fair and equitable dissolution of the marriage, especially when it comes to matters involving children, the court may require third-party evaluations.  The cost of the evaluations is the responsibility of the individuals, not the court.

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A parenting schedule (“visitation schedule”) is established during a divorce proceeding.  This establishes the number of overnights the child will spend with each parent, the holiday schedule, and many other issues related to the time each parent will have with the child or children.  So, what’s the process to modify the parenting schedule?

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Kentucky family law courts routinely deal with cases involving child custody and domestic violence.  In Jefferson County, we have a “one family one court” system.  The advantage to this is that charges of domestic violence can be heard in circuit court where family law cases are handled.

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