More than 80 Years of Experience

Serving Central and Eastern Kentucky




When couples with children separate, whether they have been married or not, one of most important challenges they need to address is the schedule of how the children go back and forth between the two houses.  Until recently, the courts normally called that schedule “visitation”.  Some counties in Kentucky still refer to it that way. Other counties now call that schedule “timesharing”.  

For a long time, timesharing, or visitation, schedules were rather predictable, with children usually residing primarily with the mother, and father being granted every other weekend and maybe a dinner during the week.  Perhaps he would have some extended time over summer, long weekends, holidays and time during summer vacation.  Occasionally, the court would make modifications to adapt to a particular work schedule or when one parent lived at a distance that would make this schedule impossible.  In some Kentucky counties, if the parents cannot agree, this approach still prevails.   

In other counties, the trend is away from a cookie cutter, or one size fits all, approach. Instead, in these counties, the court expects the parties to try first to come up with a schedule that works best for their children.  After all, the theory goes, parents know their children better than anyone else. If the parents cannot agree, the judge in these counties will decide the timesharing schedule that he or she believes works best for the children in that particular family and there can be substantial variation.  

Parents who design their own timesharing or visitation schedule generally have some flexibility in what they put in writing.  Some parents wants every detail spelled out.  Some parents want a very loose schedule.  

If the parties cannot agree on a schedule, with the aid of their attorneys, or with the aid of a mediator or parenting coordinator (two excellent resources), then the case eventually might end up getting tried in front of the judge.    

Sometimes, the judge obtains the input of a professional, like a therapist or a Guardian ad Litem, for example, to help guide the judge’s decision.  Some judges recognize that even within a family one size does not fit all.  A schedule that works well for one child might not work as well for another child in the same family.  

The judge is going to examine, among many criteria, what the parents have done historically, who has taken care of the children, the parents’ work schedules and availability.    If there is a trial, then most likely the parents will testify, along with perhaps other witnesses who have information to add.  The parties might also introduce exhibits. Parents work with their attorneys to prepare for trial.

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