Kentucky trial court must make its own findings of fact and may not nearly verbatim adopt party’s proposed findings – Publish Opinion from Ky Court of Appeals



Mother argued on appeal that the trial court failed to make specific, independent findings of fact in a custody case. The trial court had nearly verbatim adopted the proposed findings submitted by Father. The Court of Appeals vacated the trial court judgment holding that cases involving children and families require strict compliance with CR 52.01 which requires that the court  itself make findings of facts and conclusions of law. The Court of Appeals cites Callahan v. Callahan and the Supreme Court case Keifer v. Keifer as support for its decision. Keifer v. Keifer, 354 S.W.3d 123 (Ky. 2011);Callahan v. Callahan, 579 S.W.2d 385, 387 (Ky. App. 1979).

Justice VanMeter writes separately concurring in result alone. He disagrees with the majority writing “a trial court does not err by inviting counsel to submit Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, and then exercising its discretion in making its selection,” but writes that “the Findings appear to be unsupported by substantial evidence” in this case, thus he concurs in result.

Digested by Elizabeth M. Howell