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Porter v. Department of Health and Human Services

Arkansas Supreme Court
286 S.W.3d 686 (2008)


Facts

D.P., age 16, married 34-year-old Ralph Rodriguez. D.P.’s parents, Mark Porter (defendant) and his ex-wife, Diana Rolen, believed that Rodriguez was in his 20s and consented to the marriage. The Department of Health and Human Services (plaintiff) petitioned the court to remove D.P and her sister from their parents’ home, using their consent to D.P.’s marriage as one of the grounds. D.P.’s guardian ad litem moved to void D.P.’s marriage to Rodriguez. D.P.’s therapist testified that D.P. was immature and had been neglected by her parents but that she had a “strong sense of herself,” was smart, and was responsible. The trial court voided the marriage based on (1) a misrepresentation of Rodriguez’s age, (2) the best interests of D.P., and (3) D.P.’s mental capacity. On the third ground, the trial court based its opinion in significant part on D.P.’s behavior at trial, including her outbursts, unwillingness to cooperate with instruction, and making faces at attorneys. Porter appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brown, J.)

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