E.K. AND N.K. APPELLANTS
T.A. AND A.C.K., A MINOR CHILD APPELLEES
FROM GRANT CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE R. LESLIE KNIGHT, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 16-AD-00003
FOR APPELLANT: Steven N. Howe Dry Ridge, Kentucky Stephen L.
Bates Dry Ridge, Kentucky.
FOR APPELLEE: Brandie M. Ingalls Covington, Kentucky.
BEFORE: GOODWINE, K. THOMPSON, AND L. THOMPSON, JUDGES.
E.K. and N.K. (collectively "Step-mother"), appeal
from a Grant Circuit Court order (1) granting a motion to
dismiss in favor of Appellee, T.A. ("Mother"); and
(2) denying her motion to alter, amend, or vacate. After a
careful review, we reverse and remand for further proceedings
consistent with this opinion.
April 19, 2016, N.K. ("Father") filed a petition
for involuntary termination of parental rights under
625.050 against Mother. Later that year, the trial court
entered an agreed order, which allowed an amended petition
seeking adoption under KRS 199.502 and the addition of
Step-mother, as the minor child's step-parent.
The amended petition set forth two counts: Count I was a
petition for adoption under KRS 199.502, and Count II was a
request for involuntary termination of parental rights under
February 13, 2017, Mother filed a motion to dismiss the
amended petition, based on CR 12.02(g) and CR 19.01. Mother argued the
trial court should dismiss the amended petition because
Step-mother failed to join, and serve, the Cabinet as an
indispensable party. The trial court took the motion under
submission and set a briefing schedule. In her response,
Step-mother argued that the Cabinet was not an indispensable
party, pertaining to Count I, and that the GAL report
satisfied the report requirement of KRS 199.510.
April 20, 2017 order, the trial court dismissed the amended
petition, finding the Cabinet was an indispensable party.
Step-mother promptly filed a motion to alter, amend, or
vacate, arguing that Count I of the amended petition should
survive because it was filed under KRS 199.502, rather than
KRS 625.050, which did not require her to name the Cabinet as
a party. Mother responded that the trial court should still
dismiss the amended petition because it failed to meet
statutory requirements of KRS 199.510.
August 22, 2017, the trial court entered an order denying
Stepmother's motion to alter, amend, or vacate, citing
KRS 199.510 and finding that "[b]ecause the Amended
Petition includes both an Adoption and Involuntary
Termination of Parental Rights, strict compliance with KRS
199 and/or KRS 625 is required; therefore, the Motion to
Alter, Amend, or Vacate is DENIED."
August 22, 2017 order, p. 2 (emphasis in original). This
are no disputed facts before us, rather, whether the trial
court correctly applied the law to said facts. Thus, since
this is a question of law, our review is de novo.