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Buachaill, Lawyer
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 10588
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Dear Buachaill, AS affects individuals very differently and

Customer Question

Dear Buachaill,
AS affects individuals very differently and although some people are high achievers, others need full state support. But if he is a high achiever, then he cannot surely seek maintenance from me in a prospective divorce dispute, because he would have a capacity to work? Besides this consideration, it is the social and emotional implications of AS that are most damaging to the married partner, because an AS person has an inability to see things or respond to another person's viewpoint. In the case of seeking an annulment, surely, my spouse would be assessed by a psychologist or psychiatrist to help determine if his level of function and capacity for relationships would deem him to be unfit for marriage or not? He might also have mental health issues / behavioural problems which can further impact AS, (a form of autism) and exacerbate his need to control physical contact.
My spouse claimed when we first met that he had a mild form of AS, but his behaviour is very controlling, repetitive and has caused considerable stress. I wonder has he been misdiagnosed, or else has he not told me everything?
This is complicated by the fact that he cannot prove medically that he has AS, because he cannot reference a psychologist or institute that gave him a diagnosis as an adult. There is no 'diagnosis copy report' on his medical file, although I understand that his GP notes contain a reference to Aspergers. So what I am saying is that, I do not know how 'able' or not he is, or even if he has a more complicated diagnosis, because there is no medical report. Could he be re-assesed to determine his level, and if in fact he has AS, or else if he has AS along with any other condition? Would such medical information be taken into account, in an application for an annulment?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.

1. I don't doubt that your husband has Asperger's. However, the grounds for Asperger's being the basis for a nullity decree has been rejected. This is even in very severe cases. This is because it is not a full blown mental illness. The grounds for nullity are very restrictive and are interpreted very narrowly. This is because a decree of nullity involves stating that the marriage never happens. Courts just don't go down this route very often. You can try for a Church nullity. But a legal nullity will never work with Asperger's.

Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.

2. The issue is not whether your husband's Asperger's is severe or not. But whether the marriage never existed because he has Asperger's. My professional opinion for what it is worth, is that you will only be wasting money if you seek a nullity decree based on his Aspergers. However, if you are unhappy with this view, see a solicitor who specialises in family law and seek their opinion. However, I daresay it wont be any different.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Buachaill for your professional guidance.
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.

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