Few things are more important to New Jersey residents than individual liberties. The ability to dictate the course of one's life is often taken for granted until such time as those rights are threatened. An example is found in the case of a man who was recently denied the right to divorce his wife. That decision was made based on a previous ruling that deemed the man mentally incompetent.
In 2008, the man's wife asked a court to find her husband incompetent based on his decision to send money to an individual who contacted him online. The individual claimed to be a Nigerian prince, which may be the best-known internet scam of recent years. Unfortunately, the husband promptly sent thousands of dollars to the scammers. In court, the wife prevailed, and her husband was deemed mentally incompetent. She was named as his legal guardian.
In 2013, the man filed for divorce. However, when the matter went to court, the court found that he was unable to proceed. In the couple's state of residence, individuals who are deemed mentally incompetent are unable to file legal claims. That means that unless his legal guardian files the divorce on his behalf, the man will be forced to remain married. As his wife is his guardian and does not want a divorce, it seems unlikely that the marriage will end in that manner.
This case is more complex than many divorce issues facing spouses in New Jersey and elsewhere. At issue are basic matters of individual rights, as well as the state's obligation to look after those who are incapable of looking after their own interests. What readers can be sure of is that the living arrangement between this husband and wife must surely be strained, to say the least.
Source: tampabay.com, "Court says man can't seek divorce without wife's permission", Adam Beam, Dec. 16, 2016