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Could this man's divorce request be refused?

There are a number of difficult issues that Colorado residents face when preparing to end a marriage. However, very few are concerned that their ability to seek a divorce in the first place will be challenged. However, there are cases in which an individual's right to seek divorce can be limited. An example is found in one state's courts where a man's mental competency has been called into question.

The case centers on an 88-year-old man and his wife. Eight years ago, the wife approached the court to ask that she be deemed her husband's legal guardian. The reason for that move was the fact that the man had fallen victim to multiple financial scams. In one instance, he became convinced that he would receive $23 million from a Nigerian prince. As a result, he sent multiple payments to the scammers behind that scheme, receiving nothing in return.

The wife asked for, and was granted legal guardianship. However, the man recently filed for divorce. His wife has asked the court to deny that request, citing the prior finding that her husband is mentally incompetent of making his own decisions. She asserts that without her care and guidance, he is at risk of losing everything that he has, and eventually becoming destitute. The man's attorney claims that he is perfectly capable of determining whether or not he wishes to remain married to his wife, and that he should not be held prisoner in a marriage that he no longer wants.

As the case moves forward, legal precedent maybe set in the area of mental competency and divorce. While not an issue currently before the Colorado courts, the outcome of this case could guide similar matters across the country. The ability to dictate the course of one's own life is a primary right, and one that courts are reluctant to limit.

Source: ABC News, "Kentucky Justices Struggle With Mentally Incompetent Divorce", Adam Beam, Aug. 19, 2016

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Brandon Ceglian

Brandon Ceglian's practice focus is family law, landlord-tenant law / real estate, civil litigation, criminal / DUI, and collections. View Attorney Profile

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