Aunt not a defacto custodian where she was paid for services – Published opinion from Ky Court of Appeals

Mother and son in bedroom spend some quality time


The Trial Court held that Aunt met the standards for a de facto custodian and awarded joint custody to Father and Aunt, imposing a child support obligation against Father without consideration of Aunt’s income and requiring Father to pay a portion of Aunt’s attorney’s fees. Father appealed as to custody, attorney fees, and child support.

The court first addresses Father’s argument that Aunt did not meet the requirement of a de facto custodian. The Court of Appeals concludes that Aunt did not meet the KRS 403.280 de facto custodian standard as she shared the parenting responsibilities with Father and was paid for her services. As she lacked de facto custodian status, Aunt did not have standing before the court in the divorce matter and could not be awarded child support or attorney fees. The Court of Appeals reversed and vacated all orders stemming from the erroneous de facto custodian decision with instructions to refund Father the paid attorney fees.

Digested by Elizabeth M. Howell

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