Divorce Solutions

Question #74

My brother suffered eight strokes in four days. His named “proxy” did not, according to his wishes, take him off of life support. Thirty-six hours after the doctor recommended discontinuing life support, he started to breathe somewhat on his own. His lungs were so damaged they then had to do a “trach” The Dr’s prognosis later became my brother’s reality. Since August 25, he cannot speak, swallow, chew, or smile. He is blind in his right eye & almost totally blind in his left. He is fed through a tube in his side, has a foley catheter; his diapers changed like a baby. Those who cannot swallow have to be suctioned 24/7 because saliva & mucous build up quickly. His trach also has continuous oxygen. He was in the hospital from August 24 to November 22 & then went to a skilled nursing facility where remains as I write this narrative. On December 6, this girlfriend took a JP to Deaconess nursing home & married my brother. 36 hours before this, the attending physician gave an evaluation of my brother’s condition. They felt that not only was he so physically compromised & would not improve, that he was also mentally compromised – they thought he was getting confused – he nodded “yes” when he meant “no.” The “proxy attended this meeting”, my mother, brother, My ailing brother’s daughter, her husband, the attending physician, nursing coordinator, & social worker. My brother also gets pain medication every four hours. My question is – due to his physical & mental condition & his taking strong pain medication, would that marriage be considered valid?. If it is valid, can it be annulled?. This “proxy” is evil, has done nothing to benefit my brother & continues to subject him to what she wants. His suffering cannot be described & our family is devastated. He never wanted to live as his father did after his stroked – our father had an enormous amount of quality in his last 4 1/2 years – my brother has none. Please help!

From the information that you provide, it sounds like you have an excellent chance to have this marriage annulled. It could very well be that the document was not prepared properly, and the marriage was not legal in the first place. I would have to review the actual filing and check the county clerk’s office to be sure. If your brother was not of sound mind and was not legally capable of consenting to the marriage, the marriage can be annulled.

If you are living in the New York City metropolitan area, please call May at 212-370-1660 to discuss the matter at greater length.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions