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Man refused the right to divorce his wife

An unusual case has highlighted a number of important issues related to both family law and mental health, for readers in Colorado and across the rest of the nation. A man who filed for divorce from his wife was recently told by a court of law that he will be unable to pursue the end of his marriage. That leaves him with little option but to remain married, apparently against his will. Viewed from a different perspective, his wife will remain responsible for her husband's welfare, despite what has to be a challenging set of circumstances.

The primary issue in the case is the man's mental health. In 2008, his wife went to court to ask that he be deemed mentally incompetent. This followed his decision to send thousands of dollars to an individual who claimed to be a Nigerian prince in need of assistance. Many readers recall the email scam that defrauded many people out of significant sums of money. The court sided with the wife, and she was designated as her husband's legal guardian.

When the man filed for divorce in 2013, he soon encountered difficulty. His state of residence does not allow a person who is mentally unsound to file legal actions, including divorce. If such a person wishes to initiate a legal proceeding, they have to have their legal guardian do so on their behalf. In this case, the man's guardian is his wife, who does not want a divorce.

This case has sparked debate in Colorado and elsewhere. No one likes the idea of being forced to remain married to someone they no longer want to live with. However, if an individual is truly suffering from mental decline, allowing that person to divorce his or her spouse could lead to a loss of much-needed services and support. These types of cases are among the most challenging to go before family courts, and are also incredibly distressing to the families involved.

Source:, "Court says man can't seek divorce without wife's permission", Adam Beam, Dec. 16, 2016

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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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