REVIEW FROM COURT OF APPEALS CASE NOS. 2015-CA-001819-ME AND
2015-CA-001820-ME JEFFERSON CIRCUIT COURT NO. 14-CI-503666
COUNSEL FOR APPELLANTS: Jacqueline M. Caldwell Louisville, KY
COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE TAMARA D. GARVIN: Ray H. Stoess Jr.
COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE ASHLEY GARVIN: Ashley Garvin, pro
se Louisville, KY
COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE KURT KNIFKE: Kurt Knifke, pro
se Louisville, KY
case involves a minor child, K.R.K., and whether her maternal
grandfather and his girlfriend, in whose custody K.R.K. has
been since she was eight months old, may be considered her de
facto custodians pursuant to KRS 403.270.
8, 2014, in a temporary removal hearing, the Jefferson Family
Court awarded temporary custody of eight-month-old K.R.K. to
her maternal grandfather, Terry Garvin and his long-term
girlfriend, Donna Krieger, with whom he cohabitated. On June
19, 2014, K.R.K.'s mother, Ashley Garvin, stipulated that
K.R.K. was at risk of abuse or neglect and the family court
ordered temporary custody was to remain with Terry and Donna.
On November 26, 2014, K.R.K.'s maternal grandmother,
Tamara Garvin, filed an action seeking custody or, in the
alternative, grandparent visitation. On December 17, 2014,
Terry and Donna responded to Tamara's petition and filed
a cross-petition asking the family court to find them to be
K.R.K.'s de facto custodians.
family court conducted a hearing on the pending issues
related to K.R.K.'s custody and Tamara's petition for
grandparent visitation on June 23, 2015. The family court
issued its Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order on
September 10, 2015, finding that Terry and Donna were
K.R.K.'s primary caregivers and financial supporters,
naming them as K.R.K.'s de facto custodians, and awarding
them sole permanent custody. The family court also awarded
Tamara grandparent visitation with K.R.K. pursuant to KRS
405.021. Tamara and Ashley appealed to the Court of Appeals,
which reversed, holding that the family court erred in naming
more than one individual as K.R.K.'s de facto custodian.
It did not address any of the parties' remaining issues,
declaring them moot, and remanded to the family court.
and Donna sought discretionary review from this Court, which
we granted. This appeal followed. We now reverse the Court of
Appeals for the following reasons.
403.270 provides, in pertinent part:
(1)(a) As used in this chapter and KRS 405.020, unless the
context requires otherwise, "de facto custodian"
means a person who has been shown by clear and convincing
evidence to have been the primary caregiver for, and
financial supporter of, a child who has resided with the
person for a period of six (6) months or more if the child is
under three (3) years of age and for a period of one (1) year
or more if the child is three (3) years of age or older or
has been placed by the Department for Community Based
Services. Any period of time after a legal proceeding has
been commenced by a parent seeking to ...