Step-parent adoption and termination – published opinion from Ky Court of Appeals


E.K. and N.K. v. T.A. AND A.C.K.

Step-mother filed an amended petition for adoption of minor child under KRS199.502 and a request for termination of natural mother’s parental rights under KRS 625.050. The amended petition failed to join and serve the Cabinet as an indispensable party. Trial Court found the Cabinet was an indispensable party and dismissed the amended petition.

The Court of Appeals held that “when there is a dual petition involving an adoption and involuntary termination of parental rights, the adoption supersedes the termination because KRS199 encompasses KRS 625.” The Court further held that the only time the Cabinet is required as a party-defendant under KRS 199 is when the child is in its “care, custody, and control” and that the Cabinet’s participation in an adoption pre-petition is unnecessary for an adoption by a step-parent.

Digested by: Emily T. Cecconi