Overview of Adoption Laws in Kentucky: What You Need to Know

adoption kentucky

Adopting a child is a deeply meaningful experience but can also be confusing and challenging. Each state has its own adoption laws, so the laws for adoption in Kentucky are determined by the state. Consequently, if you are in Kentucky and looking to adopt, the process may initially seem intimidating. However, with the proper preparation and support, the adoption process does not have to be overwhelming. In the guide below, we provide an overview of Kentucky’s adoption laws and explain how an experienced Kentucky family law attorney can help you. 

Who Is Allowed To Adopt a Child in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, individuals who are 18 or older are eligible to adopt. Married individuals must adopt with their spouse unless it’s a step-parent adoption. Unmarried individuals can adopt on their own. Regarding same-sex couples, there are no specific adoption laws in the state except that married same-sex couples must also adopt together.

In addition, all potential parents looking to adopt will need to be approved by a Kentucky adoption home study, which will include interviews, a criminal background check, and home visits.  

Adopting in Kentucky

In Kentucky, for a minor to be eligible for adoption, their biological parents’ legal parental rights must be terminated. Parental rights can be terminated voluntarily if a pregnant mother creates an adoption plan for her baby through an adoption agency. 

Birth parents must also wait at least 72 hours after the birth of their child to give their consent for adoption, and children over the age of 12 must provide consent before they can be adopted.

Different Types of Adoptions in Kentucky

In Kentucky, there are several different types of adoptions that families can consider when adopting, including the following:

  • Private Adoptions: These adoptions usually involve individuals working directly with birth parents or a birth mother to arrange the adoption. 
  • Adoptions Through an Agency: An adoption through an agency involves individuals working with a licensed adoption agency that helps match a child with suitable adoptive families. 
  • International Adoptions: These adoptions involve adopting a child from a different country. 

It should also be noted that each of these adoptions includes variations and sub-categories. That is why, before proceeding with the adoption process, consider reviewing the process with a skilled family law attorney. 

Birth Parent Expenses 

In Kentucky, it is illegal to exchange payment for an adoption. However, birth parents may be able to receive financial assistance. Childbirth, pregnancy, and even recovery can result in a financial burden for birth mothers, especially when it comes to work compensation and medical coverage. That is why states often regulate the type of expenses that can be covered for birth mothers choosing adoption. For instance, in Kentucky, adoption agencies can help with the following expenses:

  • Birth parent expenses
  • Medical expenses not covered by insurance
  • Legal expenses
  • Adoption placement fees

Timelines Involved with the Adoption Process

It is important to set realistic expectations when it comes to the timelines related to the adoption journey. Depending on the circumstances, these timelines can take anywhere from a few months to even years. For further information about these timelines, consider reviewing Kentucky’s adoption laws with an experienced Kentucky family law attorney. These legal professionals may be able to tell you more about the process, what you can expect from it, and how long the process may take. 

Contact Hoffman Walker & Knauf Today and Learn More About the Adoption Laws in Kentucky

At Hoffman Walker & Knauf, our legal team has extensive experience with various forms of adoption, and we are prepared to guide you through the entire process. Our firm frequently handles the following types of adoptions:

  • Stepparent adoptions
  • Family member adoptions
  • Foster parent adoptions
  • Independent adoptions
  • International adoptions

For further information about the adoption laws in Kentucky or how to start the process, contact Hoffman Walker & Knauf today.