Termination of Parental Rights, Published Opinion from Ky Court of Appeals

K. M.J. V. CABINET FOR HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY, ET AL.

Mother appeals from termination of her parental rights. After the hearing the trial court "deferred the matter" and conducted a further hearing four months later. Mother argued the trial court was required to either terminate her rights or dismiss the Cabinet’s Petition for Termination pursuant to KRS 635.090, which provides:

6) Upon the conclusion of proof and argument of counsel, the Circuit Court shall enter findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a decision as to each parent-respondent within thirty (30) days either:

(a) Terminating the right of the parent; or

(b) Dismissing the petition and stating whether the child shall be returned to the parent or shall remain in the custody of the state.

The Court of Appeals agrees with Mother holding that the plain language of the statute limited the trial court to either termination or dismissal and vacates the Order terminating Mother’s parental rights.

Digested by Elizabeth M. Howell