Unusual request for divorce at the heart of Kentucky case

Kentucky's highest court will consider whether a man declared mentally incompetent can seek a divorce from his wife.

Elmer and Carolyn Riehle have been married for more than two decades. Since 2008, Carolyn has been Elmer's guardian after a six-person jury ruled Elmer was mentally incompetent because of his dementia. Elmer fought that ruling, but a second trial in 2010 yielded the same result.

In 2013, Elmer asked for a divorce. But the Kentucky courts have not allowed it, citing a 1943 precedent from the state's highest court that does not allow mentally incompetent people to file for divorce. Carolyn's attorney says Elmer is vulnerable, having lost thousands of dollars to overseas internet pyramid schemes.

The Kentucky Supreme Court will hear arguments Friday.