Guardianship

SUPERIOR COURTS HAVE THE POWER To AUTHORIZE A GUARDIAN OF AN INCOMPETENT To INITIATE AN ACTION To DISSOLVE THE INCOMPETENT’S MARRIAGE. In re Marriage of Gannon, 104 Wn. 2d 121, 702 P.2d 466 (1985).

In In re Marriage of Gannon,’ an eighty-three-year-old wife sought an order of separate maintenance from her eighty-nineyear-old incompetent husband, specifically alleging the marriage was not irretrievably broken. The court appointed a guardian ad litem (GAL) to represent the husband. The GAL recommended a counter petition for dissolution to prevent further dissipation of the husband’s liquid assets. The husband, although confused about most subjects to which he testified, did not wish for a divorce.

The superior court dismissed the actions of both parties, holding it had no subject matter jurisdiction to award maintenance absent a concomitant action for dissolution and that the GAL had no standing to seek dissolution on behalf of the incompetent husband.
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Laura J. Riley, Guardianship, 21 Gonz. L. Rev. 299 (1985).

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