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Landmark Case in Cook County Changes Divorce Law

 Posted on October 21, 2012 in Divorce

Up until recently, Illinois has stopped the guardians from seeking divorces for their mentally-ill wards. Anyone who is mentally disabled would not be able to divorce their spouse, unless their spouse initiated the action. But on October 4th, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled on a case which may allow some to seek divorce.

The ban covered all people who had severe brain damage yet did not describe a range for people who can make their wishes known. People who suffer from Alzheimer's or whose mental adversity can come and go were also controlled by this ban.

While the ban tried to protect the people who love and care for those with mental hardship, the Supreme Court maintains that the opposite might be just as true. Judge Charles Freeman wrote in the decision that the ban can leave vulnerable people "at the complete mercy" of spouses who abuse them or manipulate them financially.

Now, the court will have to decide on a case to case basis rather than having a catch-all regulation. The guardians can file for the divorce and the judge presiding will have to look at evidence objectively if the person cannot represent their own wishes. This was the direct result of a ruling involving a Cook County couple, Jan and Marcia Karbin. Marcia Karbin suffered brain damage from a car crash in 1997. After financial disputes with her husband, she asked her guardian to file for divorce, and now she can.

If you are in a relationship where you are victimized by your spouse, then you deserve a voice as well. No one deserves to be trapped in a relationship because they are too scared to leave. Contact an experienced family law attorney who can help you get the decision you want.

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