B.C. v. B.T. and K.F., Joint Custodians of N.C.,
182 SW3d 213, (Ky.App., 2005)
Appeal to Court of Appeals proper since Circuit had a
Family Court. Evidence was sufficient to establish father as
unfit, although such finding was unnecessary as grandmother
was found to be a de facto custodian and, thus, had equal
footing with father and the Court need only consider the
best interest of the child in making permanent custody award.
BC is the biological father of NC. On July 18, 2003 a dependency petition was filed in the McCracken Family Court on behalf of NC by a social worker. An E.C.D. was granted, a temporary removal hearing was held, and an order entered placing NC in the temporary custody of the child's paternal grandmother. An adjudication hearing allowed temporary custody to remain with the grandmother.
On December 18, 2003 BT (paternal grandmother) filed a motion for permanent custody of NC. Neither the mother nor the father filed a response. McCracken Family Court granted the motion, from which the father appealed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
Held: affirmed. First, the Court notes that a Family Court is a division of Circuit Court, and even though it may be considering what may be within the jurisdiction of District Court if that county has no Family Court, it is a Circuit Court matter if the county has a Family Court, hence an appeal from Family Court must be to the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
Evidence sufficient to establish father was unfit, although unnecessary, as grandmother was found to be a de facto custodian, thus placing grandmother on equal footing with father, and court need consider only best interest of the child in making the award.