State Representative Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) sponsored a piece of legislation to allow guardians to file for dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment of marriage on behalf of an incapacitated person. Today, Senate Bill (SB) 59 passed the House with a unanimous vote.
SB 59 addresses a problem with incapacitated adults who are often unable to care for themselves and cannot dissolve a marriage if necessary. Under current law, while the guardian of an incapacitated person has the power to take action and make decisions for the benefit of the incapacitated person, guardians do not have the authority to file a petition for dissolution of marriage on behalf of his or her ward.
“This can be a necessary step in some circumstances,” said Rep. Mayfield. “If an incapacitated adult is facing problems, especially if those problems are due to abuse, it may become necessary to get them out of that situation as soon as possible.”
This legislation was amended in the House to state that when a court is considering an annulment of marriage for an incapacitated person, they should consider the totality of circumstances, including the desire and interests of the spouse remaining married.
Because it was amended in the House, the bill will now be sent to the Senate for concurrence.