Defacto custodians – published opinion from Ky Court of Appeals

Grandpa and Baby


Paternal grandfather and his girlfriend were adjudged de facto custodians of minor child and were awarded sole permanent custody. Maternal grandmother was awarded grandparent visitation pursuant to KRS 405.021.

Mother and maternal grandmother appealed arguing that the family court erred by designating paternal grandfather and girlfriend as de facto custodians of the minor child as only an individual or a married couple can be named pursuant to KRS 403.270(1). The Court of Appeals agrees holding that an unmarried couple does not qualify as a single unit under KRS 403.270. Thus, the action is remanded to the family court.

Judge Lambert dissents arguing “the issue of permanent custody has been fully litigated and established.” She would affirm the family court applying the concept of fictive kin (KRS 199.011(9), KRS 600.020(28) (effective June 29, 2017) and valuing child welfare over the marital status ahead of a blood relative.

Digested by Elizabeth M. Howell

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