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Incompetent man can only seek divorce with wife's permission

When most people in New Hampshire marry, they do so with the intention of remaining in the marriage for the rest of their lives. However, as people change, they often find that they are no longer compatible and choose to end their marriages. The question of whether a man in another state can divorce is complicated by the fact that he has been declared incompetent and his wife named his guardian.

According to reports, the man's wife sought to have him declared incompetent in 2008 after he allegedly gave away significant amounts of money to what he believed was a Nigerian prince. He has fought that ruling. However, his efforts were unsuccessful.

In 2013, the man filed for divorce; an action his wife opposed. In Kentucky, where the couple lives, a person who is considered to have an "unsound mind" is not allowed to file legal actions, meaning the man can only be divorced if his guardian -- in this case, his wife -- files on his behalf. The Kentucky Supreme Court has recently declined to overrule a 1943 ruling which set the precedent in this situation. Some of the justices dissented, arguing that those who are incompetent should have a pathway to seek a divorce, especially in the case of abuse. However, a representative for the man's wife claims that he is not abused.

The laws regarding the ability of an incompetent person to file legal action varies depending on the state. In all cases in New Hampshire involving a divorce, an experienced family law attorney can help a person understand his or her options and look out for his or her best interests. In many cases, legal action can help a person seek a happier, more fulfilling life.

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

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