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My brother had a stroke (speech & thought affected), and got married 24 hours...

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dejarnettev | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 4, 2008 at 4:13 AM via web

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My brother had a stroke (speech & thought affected), and got married 24 hours later.  Everything goes to wife.  Is there any recourse?

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 7, 2008 at 1:50 PM (Answer #1)

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In contract law, the signer of the contract has to be mentally sound or the contract is invalid.  The following is a quote from California law about the requirements for contract signers:

Capacity of the Parties

In order to be bound to a contract, the parties must be competent to enter into such a legal arrangement. Underage persons, persons who are mentally ill, and intoxicated persons are usually not held to the contracts they enter. However, a minor may have the option of enforcing a contract.

If, medically, a party's competency has been diminished, than there is certainly recourse to be taken.  The laws of your particular state must be considered, as must the consequences of arguing diminished capacity.  A legal decree that identifies someone as having diminished capacity can have repercussions in other areas.  Your best bet is to discuss the situation in detail with a lawyer.

Disclaimer: This post contains general legal information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation. Each reader should consult a lawyer if you want a qualified professional’s assurance that this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.

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urthona | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted October 7, 2008 at 10:32 PM (Answer #2)

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In most states, lack of mental capacity to consent at the time of marriage constitutes a ground for the annulment of the marriage.

Does your brother want to get out of the marriage, or are you (and other relatives?) the party considering taking legal action? If your brother opposes an annulment (or divorce), it will be more difficult –- but not impossible -- to annul the marriage. In either case, the first step will be to file a motion for a competency hearing in the appropriate state court. A psychiatric evaluation will then be conducted to evaluate your brother’s mental condition. Then, the court will hold a competency hearing to determine whether your brother was legally competent to enter the marriage contract. If the court rules that your brother lacked the mental capacity to marry, then a motion seeking an annulment can be filed. As noted above, a court's finding that your brother is mentally incompetent will have additional repercussions.

See the links below for information on annulments and mental incompetency. 

You should seek advice from an attorney experienced in family law and competency hearings.

Disclaimer: This post contains general legal information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation. Each reader should consult a lawyer if you want a qualified professional’s assurance that this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.

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