Ky Published Opinion - Standing to Intervene in Adoption

W.R.L., ET AL. V. A.H.

A child born out of wedlock lived with A.H. as a family member for several years. A.H. participated in co-parenting the child , until A.H.’s relationship with the child’s mother ended. A.H. continued to have visitation with the child until the child’s mother got remarried and prevented A.H. from seeing the child. Finally, the child’s step-father filed a petition to adopt the child.

A.H. moved to intervene in the step-father’s adoption proceeding. The Appellate Court held that A.H. did not have standing to intervene in the custody case. The right to seek custody in another proceeding does not create a right to intervene. Additionally, A.H. did not have physical or legal custody of the child and was not a person acting as a parent in satisfaction of KRS 403.800(13)(a), nor was A.H. a person whose consent to the adoption was necessary. A.H. was not authorized to intervene in the adoption proceeding.

Judge Maze wrote separately to emphasize that although A.H. did not have a legal right to intervention, the interests of the child are implicated. The child may be best served by being allowed to continue a relationship with A.H. who participated as a co-parent for the formative years of the child’s life.

Digested by Elizabeth Howell