Ratcliff v. Ratcliff

Decision Date24 August 1979
Citation586 S.W.2d 292
PartiesJoan Elizabeth RATCLIFF, Appellant, v. Robert Lee RATCLIFF, Appellee.
CourtKentucky Court of Appeals

Elise Givhan Spainhour, Givhan, Spainhour & Spainhour, Shepherdsville, for appellant.

John D. Dale, Jr., Coots & Dale, Taylorsville, for appellee.


HAYES, Judge.

Pursuant to the dissolution of the marriage of Joan and Robert Ratcliff, the Bullitt Circuit Court took two actions which are now complained of by Joan. Custody of the couple's four-year-old son, Robert, was awarded to his father, and the trial court refused to consider as marital property the value of Robert's employer's contribution to Robert's pension account.

We will first consider the award of custody which provided for reasonable visitation rights to the mother. Joan argues that an award of legal custody to Robert is a De facto award of custody to his mother, and that we should thus consider this case as involving the rights of a natural parent, the mother, vis a vis those of a third party, the grandmother. The record indeed reflects that Robert Sr., in whose custody the child has been since the couple separated, delegates a great deal of child care to his mother, who is retired. The court was fully aware of this circumstance, and indeed considerable evidence was heard as to Robert Jr.'s relationship with his grandmother. Most of that evidence was favorable. We recognize that any custodial parent who works for a living must make suitable arrangements for child care during the time that he or she is at work. We do not believe that Robert Sr.'s arrangement with his mother goes beyond that to an abdication of custody. It is still Robert Sr. who bears the responsibility for support of Robert Jr. and for the major decisions affecting the child's future, I. e. schooling, residence, etc.

Joan also argues that the custody award was influenced by irrelevant evidence as to her marital misconduct. We agree that that evidence, which was rather extensive, was not the proper subject for the court's consideration and that most of it could perhaps have been excluded. (We might feel more strongly had not Joan herself opened the door to the testimony complained of.) The court's findings, however, reveal that the decision was not based on any irrelevant considerations. The court did not find Joan unfit, but found the best interests of the child to lie in custody by the father, based on consideration of a number of relevant...

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9 cases
  • Davidson v. Davidson
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • 20 d3 Fevereiro d3 1985
    ...Leighton, 81 Wis.2d 620, 261 N.W.2d 457 (1978). Contrast In re Marriage of Delgado, 429 N.E.2d 1124 (Ind.App.1982); Ratcliff v. Ratcliff, 586 S.W.2d 292 (Ky.Ct.App.1979); Miller v. Miller, 83 Mich.App. 672, 269 N.W.2d 264 (1978). As to vested but unmatured pension rights, see L. Golden, Equ......
  • LaRue v. LaRue
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • 25 d3 Maio d3 1983
    ...49 Ill.Dec. 633, 418 N.E.2d 487 (1981) (Illinois); Wilson v. Wilson, Ind.App., 409 N.E.2d 1169 (1980) (Indiana); Ratcliff v. Ratcliff, 586 S.W.2d 292 (Ky.Ct.1979) (Kentucky); Ohm v. Ohm, 49 Md.App. 392, 431 A.2d 1371 (1981) (Maryland); Gibbons v. Gibbons, 105 Mich.App. 400, 306 N.W.2d 528 (......
  • Day v. Day
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • 30 d1 Janeiro d1 1984
    ...See Wilson v. Wilson, 409 N.E.2d 1169 (Ind.App.1980); In Re Marriage of Ellis, 36 Colo.App. 234, 538 P.2d 1347 (1975); Ratcliff v. Ratcliff, 586 S.W.2d 292 (Ky.App.1979); Robert C.S. v. Barbara J.S., 434 A.2d 383 (Del.1981), citing Paulsen v. Paulsen, supra; and In Re Marriage of Camarta, 4......
  • Russell v. Russell
    • United States
    • Kentucky Court of Appeals
    • 25 d5 Abril d5 1980
    ...it was based on federal statutes, such as the Railroad Retirement Act. Frost v. Frost, Ky.App., 581 S.W.2d 582 (1979); Ratcliff v. Ratcliff, Ky.App., 586 S.W.2d 292 (1979); Foster v. Foster, Ky.App., 589 S.W.2d 223 (1979); and Beggs v. Beggs, Ky., 479 S.W.2d 598 (1972). This is our first co......
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2 books & journal articles
  • § 7.10 Pensions
    • United States
    • Full Court Press Divorce, Separation and the Distribution of Property Title CHAPTER 7 Property Acquired or Improved with Both Separate and Marital Property
    • Invalid date
    ...(BNA) 1275 (Ind. App. 1988); cf., Ind. Code § 31-1-11.5-2. Kentucky: Fry v. Kersey, 833 S.W.2d 392 (Ky. App. 1992); Ratcliff v. Ratcliff, 586 S.W.2d 292 (Ky. App. 1979). Cf.: Glidewell v. Glidewell, 859 S.W.2d 675 (Ky. App. 1993) (unvested retirement benefit may not be divided but may be co......
  • § 5.02 Determining What Is "Property"
    • United States
    • Full Court Press Divorce, Separation and the Distribution of Property Title CHAPTER 5 What Constitutes "Property" and "Marital Property" That Is Divisible at Divorce?
    • Invalid date
    ...only to the extent it is not contingent). Indiana: Wilson v. Wilson, 409 N.E.2d 1169 (Ind. App. 1980). Kentucky: Ratcliff v. Ratcliff, 586 S.W.2d 292 (Ky. App. 1979). [18] See e.g.: Indiana: Wilcox v. Wilcox, 173 Ind. App. 661, 365 N.E.2d 792 (1977). New Jersey: Stern v. Stern, 66 N.J. 340,......

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