In this particular case, the mother had alleged that she was a victim of domestic abuse in the past. She believed that her ex-husband should not be granted any custody rights based on the potential threat he may pose to their young child. However, a court ruled that the father should be granted partial custody, as his ability to speak and understand English would be an asset for helping to raise their child.

An appellant court found that, while the father’s proficiency in English was inappropriately considered in this case, awarding the father partial custody would not be detrimental. Even though the court found that the man had engaged in abusive behavior in the past toward his wife, during the divorce trial, he was able to prove to the court’s satisfaction that the child would not be harmed by his involvement. Past abusive behavior does not always preclude a parent from at least partial custody rights.

There are several factors that are not permitted to be taken into consideration when ruling on child custody matters. Though a court was found to be in error in considering this father’s greater command of language to be an asset, it was not a basis for overturning the previous custody decision. Kentucky parents who are concerned about ensuring that their child’s well-being will be protected during custody negotiations may be best served by securing the assistance of a seasoned attorney.