Gray Marriage: May a Senior who has a Guardian Marry?
Our Greensboro Family Lawyer web posts sometimes share guest posts. Today is one of those days.
Today’s guest author is attorney James P. Ryan who practices in Plymouth, Michigan. Jim responded today to a colleague’s question whether an older person who has a guardian may legally marry and whether the guardian must consent to the marriage, stating:
In May 2001, MCL 551.6 (about insane people getting married) was repealed, but the requirement that a person be capable of contracting marriage in MCL 551.2 remains unchanged. So mental capacity is a legal issue to be determined in the appropriate forum. See, e.g., May v Leneair, 99 Mich App 209, 215; 297 NW2d 882 (1980): “Marriage is a civil contract to which the consent of parties capable in law of contracting is essential…. Therefore, an adjudicated mental incompetent cannot enter a valid marriage.” Marriages solemnized in this state involving a person who was not capable in law of contracting at the time of solemnization are “prohibited marriages” that are “absolutely void” under MCL 552.1, and they are included as situations subject to an annulment in MCL 552.3. Marriage of a person adjudged mentally incompetent or for whom a full guardian has been appointed is void. May, supra, at 215.
But, if the person has certain disabilities, but has not been adjudged to be incompetent, nor has a guardian with full powers been appointed to care for him/her at the time of the marriage and thereafter, he/she could have sufficient mental capacity to understand the consequences of marriage and be capable of contracting to marry.
I do not know if the marriage of a person with a guardian has to be approved by the court, but that sounds like a good idea, if only to avoid disputes about it later.
James P. Ryan is a family lawyer whose practice is located in Plymouth, Michigan. He also does estate planning. His contact information may be found here. His website is here: http://www.jamespryan.com
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