Since 1943, Kentuckians who have been deemed mentally incompetent have not been allowed to divorce their spouses, but all that could change soon. Kentucky’s highest court is hearing a case that may overturn more than 70 years of legal precedent. Until the law is overturned, Kentucky will remain one of 10 states that prohibits the mentally incompetent from obtaining a divorce.
The man in question has been deemed mentally incompetent since 2013, when he first attempted to obtain a divorce, which was denied by both the Boone County Circuit Court and the Kentucky Court of Appeals. His wife had been seeking to have him declared mentally incompetent since 2008. She claimed in her initial arguments that he was quite fond of “get-rich-quick” schemes, and that she was primarily trying to protect him from being scammed by unscrupulous parties.
“Once she would stop his ability to get money from one source, he would find another or he would sell their lawnmower,” her lawyer explains. “He would come up with different ways to have cash to send wire transfers to Nigeria.” According to court documents, the man’s only income is roughly $2,400 per year in Social Security benefits, while is his wife provides an income of approximately $50,000 per year as a nurse. One of the justices reviewing case has brought into question whether the man’s ability to make responsible financial choices is truly the same as his ability to make many personal decisions.
Divorce is rarely simple, but factors like mental incompetence can make it even more so. Regardless of what complicating factors there may be in your divorce, the guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer can help keep matters civil while protecting the rights of all parties.
Source: WFPL, “Kentucky Supreme Court Weighs Mental Health In Divorce,” Ryland Barton, Aug. 19, 2016