Is Competency a Concern?
As people increase in age, they may be more likely to have medical conditions
that affect their competency. If there are concerns about either party's
competency or his/her ability to make reasonable decisions during the
divorce proceeding, it is advisable to address the competency issues with
If competency is in question, an attorney can assist with a verification
of competency, which will involve seeing a doctor and providing current
and past medical records.
If a party is found to be not competent, consideration should be given
to whether a guardian ad litem (GAL) will be needed to assist one of the
spouses during the divorce. A guardian ad litem is an individual appointed
by the court to represent the best interests of a person who is not able
to fully represent their own interests.
In this scenario, third parties may also be consulted, such as a Financial
Durable Power of Attorney, if it exists. Adult children who are privy
to the potential competency issues may also be of assistance.