Guardian could file for divorce

A woman whose mother suffered brain damage and other disabilities in an accident could sue to end the mother’s 33-year marriage to her father, the Illinois Supreme Court recently ruled.

The daughter had become her mother’s guardian three years earlier, when her father, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, could no longer care for her. The daughter claimed that her father then moved in with another woman and began concealing marital assets.

A trial judge initially rejected her suit, saying a guardian didn’t have the authority to bring divorce proceedings on behalf of a ward.

But the daughter appealed, and the state supreme court sided with her. It said the decision to file for divorce was no different from any other deeply personal decision that a guardian might make for a ward, such as the decision to refuse life-support treatment or to undergo sterilization, when acting in the ward’s best interest.