PR 01310.020 Kentucky
A. PR 87-008 V~, James - Effect Of Reversal Of Adoption By Kentucky Court Of Appeals
DATE: April 28, 1987
EQUITABLE ADOPTION — STATE LAW PROVISIONS — EFFECT OF FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH STATE REQUIREMENTS FOR LEGAL ADOPTION — KENTUCKY
Under Kentucky law, an adoption issued by a Circuit Court but subsequently reversed by a Court of Appeals renders the adoption totally ineffectual.
(V~ James - ~ - RAIV [Jarrett] - to ARC, Progs., Atl., 04/28/87)
This memorandum is in response to your request in which you asked this office to render a legal opinion as to the effect of an adoption decree which has been reversed by the State Court of Appeals and approved by the State Supreme Court. You specifically asked whether the adoption was actually completed for entitlement purposes. Additionally, you asked if the adoption was completed, when was the adoption reversed, for the purpose of terminating child's benefits.
The relevant facts are as follows. Katherine V~, the widow of the insured and the maternal grandmother of Sean A. T~, the child claimant, petitioned the Webster Circuit Court of Kentucky for his adoption. The Circuit Court, on October 4, 1984, terminated the natural father's, Elvis A. T~, parental rights and on October 30, 1984, granted the adoption. Mr. on October 9, 1984, appealed the Circuit Court's decree to the State Court of Appeals. The State Court of Appeals, on December 20, 1985, reversed the Circuit Court's order terminating parental rights and its order granting the adoption. Ms. V~ petitioned the Court of Appeals for a reheating. The Court of Appeals denied the motion for reheating on February 14, 1986. The Supreme Court of Kentucky, on April 23, 1986, denied review of the Court of Appeals' decision.
For reasons hereinafter stated, it is our opinion that the adoption was never completed, and in this regard, the child claimant has never been entitled to child's insurance benefits.
Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) §199.560 provides as follows:
Any party to any adoption proceeding shall have the same right of appeal to the Court of Appeals of Kentucky as in other equity actions.
Thus, the October 30, 1984, order granting the adoption was only an interlocutory order. Inasmuch as the Appeals Court reversed the Circuit Court's order, the adoption had no effect. In other words, the Circuit Court order granting adoption should be treated as if it never took place. That is, the child is not the adopted child of Ms. V~.