Consent to Adoption - Kentucky

Date: October 2021

Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.500

An adoption shall not be granted without the voluntary and informed consent of the following:

  • The living parent or parents of a child born in lawful wedlock
  • The mother of the child born out of wedlock
  • The father of the child born out of wedlock, if paternity is established in a legal action or in an affidavit acknowledging paternity of the child

A minor parent may consent to an adoption, but a guardian ad litem for the parent shall be appointed.

Consent of Child Being Adopted

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.500

In the case of a child who is age 12 or older, the consent of the child shall be given in court. The court in its discretion may waive this requirement.

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 199.500; 199.502

The consent of a parent shall not be required if any of the following applies to the parent:

  • Has been adjudged mentally disabled
  • Has had his or her parental rights terminated
  • Is divorced from the other parent, his or her rights have been terminated, and consent has been given by the other parent
  • Is a birth parent who has not established parental rights
  • Has abandoned the child for at least 90 days
  • Has inflicted or allowed to be inflicted upon the child, by other than accidental means, serious physical injury
  • Has continuously or repeatedly inflicted or allowed to be inflicted upon the child physical injury or emotional harm
  • Has been convicted of a felony that involved the infliction of serious physical injury to the child
  • Has continuously or repeatedly failed to provide essential parental care and protection for the child for at least 6 months
  • Has caused or allowed the child to be sexually abused or exploited
  • Has failed to provide essential food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or education reasonably necessary for the child's well-being for reasons other than poverty alone
  • Has had his or her rights to another child involuntarily terminated and the condition that led to the termination has not been corrected
  • Has been convicted of having caused or contributed to the death of another child from physical or sexual abuse or neglect
  • Is a putative father who fails to register with the putative father registry, or the court finds, after a hearing, any of the following:
    • The putative father is not the father of the child.
    • The putative father has willfully abandoned or willfully failed to care for and support the child.
    • The putative father has willfully abandoned the child's mother during her pregnancy and up to the time of her surrender of the child or the child's placement in the home of the petitioner, whichever occurs first.

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.500

An adoption shall not be granted or a consent for adoption shall not be held valid if the consent for adoption is given prior to 72 hours after the birth of the child.

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 625.040

A petition for voluntary termination of parental rights shall be filed in the circuit court of the county where the petitioner or child resides, or in the circuit court in the county in which juvenile court actions concerning the child have commenced.

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.500

A voluntary and informed consent shall become final and irrevocable 72 hours after it is signed.