Greensboro Family Lawyer on “Gray Marriage”

In Uncategorized by GWAO

Gray Marriage: May a Senior who has a Guardian Marry?

Our Greensboro Family Lawyer web posts sometimes share guest posts.

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 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In May 2001, MCL 551.6 (about insane people getting married) was repealed, but the requirement that a person be capable of contracting marriage in MCL 551.2 remains unchanged.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.

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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.

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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:

If you have a need for a Greensboro Divorce Lawyer, please contact us at Garrett, Walker, Aycoth, and Olson at: (336)-379-0539.