Ohio Supreme Court to Hear Incompetency Case

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The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday on whether a judge can appoint a guardian to control the affairs of an adult without giving that person notice.  For Ohio Public Radio, WKSU’s M.L. Schultze previews the case.

The arguments center on a Cuyahoga County woman who – after 30-plus years of marriage -- was going through a divorce. Though she had an attorney, a few days before the divorce proceedings began, the family-court judge appointed what’s called a guardian ad litem to represent her.

The woman maintains the judge’s unilateral decision amounted to declaring her incompetent. But Ohio law presumes an adult is competent unless proven otherwise and she says it allows a guardian to be appointed only after a judge issues a notice and holds a hearing.

Neither of the attorneys on either side of the case, nor her husband, had maintained that she’s mentally incompetent. She also argues the judge’s decision rested on a law meant to protect children, not adults.

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