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Divorce And Mental Competency

Boone County resident Elmer Riehle wants a divorce. However, he was declared mentally incompetent a few years ago. Under Kentucky law, he doesn’t have the capacity to seek dissolution of his marriage.

Carolyn Riehle is contesting the divorce because of mental incapacity. She is not only Elmer’s wife, but also his legal guardian.

Kentucky is one of a handful of states that prohibit mentally incompetent residents from getting a divorce. Mr. Riehle is hoping to change a law that dates back to a 1943 Supreme Court decision.

The 88-year old filed for divorce back in 2013, only to have his petition denied by both the Boone County Circuit Court and the Kentucky Court of Appeals. His case is now before the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Mrs. Riehle had her husband declared mentally incompetent back in 2008. She cited the need to preserve the couple’s financial stability. Allegedly, her vulnerable husband has a penchant for “get rich quick” schemes and overseas email scams.

Is there a difference between the mental capacity necessary to manage your finances and make decisions regarding your personal affairs? According to his attorney, Elmer stays home alone every day without any supervision or care, even when his wife goes on vacation. He drove himself to all court proceedings and was even able to locate and retain a lawyer.

An attorney who Mrs. Riehle believes is also taking advantage of her husband.

Divorce is a life-changing time with many obstacles in the way. Your best chance to overcome those challenges is to retain a lawyer.

Source: WFPL, Kentucky Supreme Court Weighs Mental Health In Divorce, Ryland Barton, August 19, 2016

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