In Kentucky, for the purposes of determining child custody, at times a child's "de facto custodian" if he or she has one may have rights. However, what is a de facto custodian for purposes of determining child custody in Kentucky?
Per Kentucky Statutes section 403.270, a de facto custodian is an individual who has been proven through clear and convincing evidence that he or she is the child's primary caregiver and that he or she also supports the child financially. The de facto custodian and the child must have lived together for at least six months if the child is less than three-year-old. However, if the child is over three-years-old, the child and de facto custodian must have lived together for at least 12 months. In addition, if a child was put in the care of the de facto custodian by the Department for Community Based Services, the child and de facto custodian must have lived together for at least 12 months. An individual cannot be a de facto custodian until the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the above factors are met.
When it comes to determining child custody, courts in Kentucky may allow the child's parents and a de facto custodian to share joint custody, if this is deemed to serve the child's best interests. If the de facto custodian is granted child custody by the court, then he or she will be considered to have legal custody of the child per Kentucky law.
De facto custodians have rights under Kentucky law, as do parents. However, it may be a good idea for those who are serving as de facto custodians to understand what their legal rights are. A Kentucky family law attorney may be a good resource of information in such circumstances.