Both men and women must concern themselves with Kentucky paternity laws. Visitation,
support, and custody orders begin with identifying and establishing parental rights.
While it is not necessary that these matters be addressed together, they often are,
and mothers and fathers are reminded that with rights, comes responsibility.
Paternity actions can be initiated by individuals on their own behalf, or as a result
of a custodial parent obtaining state financial support, like K-Tap. In order to
obtain support, parents are normally required to identify the child's other parent,
and, if no support order is in place, Kentucky child support regulations will require
the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to seek a contribution from the non-paying
parent. Of course, this parent must first be identified and established by entry
of a Judgment of Paternity.
Kentucky law presumes that a child born during a marriage is the child of the married
couple. When paternity is in doubt, either party may request or the Court may order
a DNA test. The test is non-invasive, and will normally exclude an individual, or
return results in the ninety-ninth percentile, indicating a virtually conclusive
If paternity is established before the child's fourth birthday, the child's father
may become responsible for child support retroactive to birth, plus medical
expenses. This can result in extremely large accrued arrearages in child support
that spring into existence. This is the case even though the eventual father may
not have anticipated or known that he could be held responsible for these expenses.
Once established, a father has a right to a relationship with the child. What this
relationship develops into, how and under what circumstances it will begin, are
dependent entirely upon the circumstances of each individual case. The Court will
always be guided by the principal that it must do what it is determined is in the
best interests of the child. Developing a visitation case with a newly discovered
father is difficult and requires determination, staying power, and understanding.
The Court will consider not only the newly established legal relationship that it
must acknowledge, but the consistency with which the parties choose to assert their
rights. The Court expects that both parties to take advantage of each visitation
The law of parental rights is the building block of a lifetime of cooperation or
struggle for parties and their new children. Parents concerned about consequences
of actions available to them are strongly advised to seek advise before doing something
that may be ineffective in producing the desired result, and have unforeseen and