High Court declares marriage invalid due to husband’s brain damage
A High Court judge has declared a marriage invalid because the brain-damaged husband was not capable of understanding its implications.
According to a report in The Sunday Times, the man, in his 50s, restarted a relationship with the woman in 2007 after they had been childhood sweethearts. But the man suffered a brain injury the following year when he was hit by a bus.
The judge acknowledged that the registrar who conducted the marriage ceremony in November 2010 had thought the man understood the situation. He said “I am getting married” and announced that “I have been waiting for her for a long time”.
Nevertheless, the man had a “deceptive social veneer”, said the judge. He was capable of everyday conversations but could only remember his wife or the fact that they were married for brief periods.
The man’s wife did not pass on a note from the man to his mother announcing the marriage as she was concerned his family would not approve. The note read:
“Dear Mam … if it is possible I want to be living with [the woman] who is the biggest love of my life.”
She took him from his placement to the registry office using a secret code word.
A few months later the woman tried to take him to live with her but the local authority applied to the courts for his return.
Mr Justice Bodey ruled in favour of the local authority, who had brought proceedings to invalidate the marriage. But the judge and local authority also both acknowledged the woman’s devotion.
The judge said:
“She has demonstrated a remarkable and creditable commitment to him, visiting him more or less daily and championing her perception of his best interests. She has given up her employment as a learning support assistant for sixth form pupils in order to be available for him.”
Photo by Theophile Escargot via Flickr under a Creative Commons licencee
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Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
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