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Do fathers with disabilities have any chance in a custody case against normal mothers with no problems?

Louisville, KY |

Are you aware of any specific cases where a father with disabilities got custody from a normal mother of an 11-year-old? Or is it silly to even ask such a question, because there's no chance in hell?

It seems like a reasonable assumption that a disabled father with limited resources would be stupidly wasting those resources fighting for custody against a normal mother. The other answers should clarify why it might not be stupid after all. If they don't, they're not really answering the question. Some fights aren't worth fighting because they aren't winnable, regardless of how unfair the situation is. Wouldn't a wise father save his money to buy stuff for his child instead of foolishly wasting it on an unwinnable battle?

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Attorney answers 4


each case a unique situation--best interest of the child is the center of gravity.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. DO NOT RELY ON ANY ADVICE YOU RECEIVE FROM ME OR ANY OTHER ATTORNEY IN THIS FORUM. Legal advice comes after a complete review of the facts and relevant documents and an expressed (written) agreement of representation that forms attorney-client confidentiality. Neither of these two events can occur in this forum. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. His answers to any Avvo question are rooted in general legal principles--NOT your specific state laws. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this or any other matter.


It depends on how much the disability will have an effect on your ability to care for the child. The courts will consider all factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Custody disputes are very complicated so you should consult with a family law attorney immediately.


It's not silly. The court will give great weight to the child's wishes if the child is over 12. However, the standard for custody is the "best interest of the child," and some more statutory factors. Obviously the disability may be considered by the Court if it is relevant to your ability to care for the child. But it is not a closed and shut case. You should speak with an attorney.

By answering questions in this forum, Attorney Anna Aleksander does not undertake to represent you in your legal matter, and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Answers are provided for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as advice of counsel. Speak with a lawyer who practices in this area to determine the best course of action for you and your case.


You need to consult with a local attorney. The first thing they should do is explain the difference between custody and parenting time. There is a brief description in section 5 of my publication "What to expect during your Kentucky divorce." Whether you are going through a divorce or not, the section on custody and parenting time is the same.

Knowing that custody is a right to make decisions and NOT an allocation of time is important. Whether this is a physical or mental disability makes a huge difference. A physical disability should have no effect on a persons ability to be make decisions about where a child goes to school, what medical treatment they receive, their religious affiliation, etc.. If it is a physical disability and mom is fit, Joint custody is a likely outcome. If it is a physical disability and mom is not fit Sole custody is realistic. A mental disability you would need discuss it in great detail with your attorney to determine the effect it will have on your case. Some are very serious while others, not so much.

If you are talking about parenting time (not custody), you will need to discuss this with an attorney. As the other answers indicate, the test is the best interest of the child and you can find the factors the court considers in section 2 of KRS 403.270 (a link is attached below). In addition to the factors in KRS 403.270 section 2, the type of disability, limitations it creates, sex of the child, child's interests/activities, the Judge, mother's schedule/limitations, etc. all must be considered.

There are several good family attorneys in Jefferson County and many do not charge for initial consultations. You should contact an attorney and get advice based on the specifics of your case. Best of luck.

Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship, an agency relationship, an employment relationship, or a relationship of any kind between the person posting the question and the person responding. The answer provided is a general answer to a general question and you should always consult an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case before taking any legal action.

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