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Lucy, Esq.
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For Lucy Dear Lucy: After a mediation hearing with no

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For Lucy

Dear Lucy:

After a mediation hearing with no settlement, my wife's lawyer told me he now believes she does have dementia. She acted up so much that the mediator took her to another room after 5 minutes.

I had planned to argue in court that having been diagnosed with dementia prior to the divorce, that she was not mentally/legally capable of entering into a contract with her lawyer and the proceedings should be dismissed. My research has indicated that while it is a voidable contract, either she or her guardian, (which she does not have), would be the only ones who could void the contract. Wondering if I am right on that.

I have a report done on her by a psychologist at the request of SS disability. He indicated she was pretty demented and would get worse. That report is 13 years old.

My primary question: Do I have any basis on which to challenge her ability to testify? She will lie, though I believe it is because of her condition. She will take a position and relate facts to support it and then change everything within 5 minutes to 24 hours. (Very short shelf life.)

Do you have any suggestion as to how or if I could challenge her testimony?

Thanks,
Bill
Hi,

You unfortunately wouldn't have standing to dispute the contract between her and her lawyer. Incapacity to contract would be a reason to void the contract if she raised it (or a guardian).

Georgia Code, Section 24-9-7 allows a judge to determine whether a person has insanity that renders them incapable of testifying. The objection to her testimony has to be raised before she starts testifying, and is best done as a Motion In Limine filed before the trial (or raised before she is called as a witness). You'll be able to introduce the documents you have to show why she's not competent to testify (even if newer medical records would be better).

If you aren't able to prevent her from testifying, and she starts raving at you on the stand, that may actually help your case. If her testimony actually lasts several hours, on cross, you can revisit the things she said to see if she changes her story. Unfortunately, there's no way to know if that will help.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
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