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Edmunds v. Edwards - 205 Neb. 255, 287 N.W.2d 420 (1980)

Rule:

An action to annul a marriage, being an action in equity, is governed by the provisions of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-1925 (Reissue 1943), which provides: In all appeals from the district court to the Supreme Court in suits in equity, wherein review of some or all of the findings of fact of the district court is asked by an appellant, it shall be the duty of the Supreme Court to retry the issue or issues of fact involved in the finding or findings of fact complained of upon the evidence preserved in the bill of exceptions, and upon trial de novo of such question or questions of fact, reach an independent conclusion as to what finding or findings are required under the pleadings and all the evidence, without reference to the conclusion reached in the district court or the fact that there may be some evidence in support thereof. 

Facts:

Renne Edmunds, guardian of the estate of Harold Edwards, brought an action against Inez Edwards to annul the marriage of his ward Harold to Inez, which occurred on May 10, 1975. In his petition, Edmunds alleged that the marriage was void for the reason that Harold did not have the mental capacity to enter into a marriage contract. This allegation was specifically denied by Inez. In its order entered on November 27, 1978, following trial of the matter, the District Court found that Harold was mentally retarded, as that phrase is commonly used in medical science, but not to a degree which, under the law of the State of Nebraska, is of such a nature as to render him mentally incompetent to enter into the marriage relation, and that at the time of the marriage between Harold and Inez, Harold had sufficient capacity to understand the nature of the marriage contract and the duties and responsibilities incident to it, so as to be able to enter into a valid and binding marriage contract. The court therefore found that the marriage of Harold and Inez, which occurred on May 10, 1975, was, in fact and in law, a valid marriage and continues to exist as a valid marriage under the laws of the State of Nebraska, and is in full force and effect. Edmunds appealed.

Issue:

Was the marriage valid?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court concluded that the trial court was correct in dismissing the guardian's petition to annul the marriage of the ward. The court found sufficient evidence that the ward had enough mental capacity to enter into a marriage. The court opined that although there was conflicting testimony, the trial court observed the witnesses and their demeanor and accepted a particular version of the facts, and weight had to be given to those findings.

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