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COA once again rules guardians have no authority to file for divorce

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Indiana law does not allow guardians the ability to petition for the dissolution of marriage on their ward’s behalf, the Indiana Court of Appeals held for the second time in nearly four months. The appeals court reversed the grant of a divorce filed by an incapacitated man’s daughters, who are his co-guardians.

Leora McGee appealed the Lake Superior Court’s grant of the petition filed by Robert McGee’s children Sharon Hilton and Judith Kalajian on his behalf. While Leora McGee was in the hospital, the daughters moved their father to a nursing home out of state and filed the dissolution petition. The McGees had been married for nearly three years. Leora McGee objected to the filing, testifying they had a good marriage.

Citing State ex rel. Quear v. Madison Circuit Court, 229 Ind. 503, 99 N.E.2d 254, 256 (1951) and the July decision in Marriage of Tillman v. Tillman, 87A05-1212-DR-619, the Court of Appeals again pointed out that neither the current Indiana law governing dissolution of marriage nor those governing the guardianship of incapacitated persons provides a means for a guardian to file a petition for dissolution of marriage on behalf of his or her ward.

“In a world full of subsequent marriages and available pre-nuptial agreements, we will not read into a statute such a sweeping and potentially overreaching authority, authority that is not the clearly expressed intent of the General Assembly,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote in In Re the Marriage of Leora McGee v. Robert McGee, 45A04-1301-DR-33.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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