ILNews

Guardian may not file for divorce on behalf on incapacitated adult

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

Citing a 1951 Indiana Supreme Court case, the Court of Appeals has affirmed that the law does not allow a guardian of an incapacitated person to file a petition for divorce on behalf of the incapacitated person.

Harry and Virginia Tillman were married in 1998. A prenuptial agreement stated the husband would provide for his wife during their marriage “reasonable support, care and maintenance.” The two are now both considered incapacitated and Harry Tillman’s daughter, as his guardian, filed a petition for divorce on behalf of her father. He was living in a nursing home and she argued he needed his money to pay for his care. Virginia Tillman’s guardian filed a petition to enforce provisions of the prenup, and later filed a motion to dismiss the petition for divorce. The trial court granted the wife’s motion based on Quear v. Madison Circuit Court, 99 N.E.2d 254 (Ind. 1951).

In Quear, the justices held that an insane person can’t bring an action for divorce because he or she can’t consent to the filing of the complaint. It also held the statutes on divorce and guardianship do not allow for a guardian to file the petition for dissolution.

“Neither the current Indiana statutes governing dissolution of marriage nor governing the guardianship of incapacitated persons provide a means for the guardian of an incapacitated person to file a petition for dissolution of marriage on behalf of the incapacitated person,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote in In Re the Marriage of: Harry L. Tillman v. R. Virginia Tillman, 87A05-1212-DR-619.

“Some might argue that the intervening decades of higher and higher divorce rates and the creation of federal and state programs to assist the elderly have radically changed civil society’s notions concerning what the vows of ‘for better and for worse’ mean. Therefore, for some, this might seem an appropriate time to revisit Quear,” he continued. “But Quear relied on the public policy pronouncements of the General Assembly within Indiana’s divorce and guardianship statutes, and those statutes have not changed appreciably regarding the issue before us since Quear.”

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  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.

ADVERTISEMENT