Marriage of senile Swedish man called into question

TT/David Landes
TT/David Landes - [email protected] • 8 Dec, 2008 Updated Mon 8 Dec 2008 07:36 CEST

The son of a Swedish man with dementia wants to annul his father’s marriage, which took place shortly after a doctor had diagnosed the man as “completely disconnected from reality”.


The ceremony was conducted last summer in Skåne in southern Sweden by a 73-year-old former vicar, against the wishes of the man’s son, reports the Metro newspaper.

A month before the wedding, a doctor had written that the man “is nearly completely disconnected from reality, disoriented from time and place”.

In most circumstances, the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) makes a determination as to whether or not any impediments exist which could prevent an individual from getting married.

Impediments include already being married, being under 18 years-old, or marriage between siblings or parents and children.

But the rules say nothing about preventing a wedding due to one’s medical condition or mental capacity.

“On the other hand, a person must be capable of entering into a marriage and that determination is left up to the officiant,” said tax agency legal expert Lars Tegenfeldt to Metro.

The man’s son has questioned the retired vicar's decision to allow the wedding to take place, claiming the 73-year-old ought to have realized the father lacked the ability to enter into any legal agreement on account of his condition.

The ex-vicar who wed the demented man had no comment on the matter.

The matter now rests with cathedral chapter in Lund, which will make a decision later this week as to whether or not the marriage should be annulled.


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