My question is that she has been served with divorce papers from her husband who abandoned her for his high school girlfriend. In the documents it states that he has been a consecutive resident of Virginia for the last 6 months. This is not true, he moved back in February and was a resident over a year of Spring, TX. Can I file a Bill of Complaint on behalf of my friend if she signs all documents but does not have the capacity to appear in court.
Your question raises several subparts, which I will try to address.
1. The law and equity sides of the court have been merged in Virginia, so there is no longer such a thing as a "Bill of Complaint". It is now just called a Complaint (for Divorce).
2. A divorce suit can be maintained in Virginia as long as at least ONE of the parties is a bona fide resident and domiciliary of Virginia and has been for at least 6 months prior to the filing of the Complaint. So, if your friend meets the residency/domiciliary test but the husband does not, then one possible remedy would be for the Complainant/Husband to file an amended Complaint alleging jurisdiction based on the Defendant/Wife's residency.
The remainder of these answers depend upon the the degree of your friend's incapacity.
3. If she is mentally/legally competent, then she would need to be the person to file any pleadings in the case. If her physical condition prevents her from physically appearing at hearings, etc., there are methods available for working around this -- such as appearing by phone, deposing her at the nursing home and having the deposition entered into evidence (under the witness unavailable exception), and other such alternatives. However, I would strongly recommend AGAINST you filing a Complaint on her behalf and/or otherwise assisting in her case as this will likely open you up to criminal liability -- a POA is not authorization to practice law. What you can do with your POA is fascillitate the hiring of a licensed attorney to represent your friend in her divorce case.
4. If your friend is not legally competent to manage her own affairs, then the POA is not going to be sufficient for you to authorize an attorney to file for divorce on her behalf or to defend her in the current suit.
4.A. In order to change the marital status of a legally incapacitated person, you would need to be appointed as that person's Guardian through a Petition for Appointment of Guardianship (and Conservatorship, to handle the financial decisions). Once appointed legal guardian by the court, then you could initial a Complaint for Divorce on their behalf in your capacity as Guardian (there are statutes in VA that specifically authorize this).
4.B. If the incapacitated person is named as the Defendant/Respondent in a divorce suit in Virginia, then the law states that the court SHALL appoint a Guardian ad litem for the defendant. A GAL is a licensed attorney who has been approved by the court to serve as a guardian to protect the interests of the incompetent defendant in civil suits.
This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is intended for general information purposes only.
Your friend (or you as her agent under the power of attorney) need to consult with experienced divorce counsel. It may seem to be a statement of the obvious, but divorce not only ends the marital relationship but also provides the opportunity for division of property and payment of support (for minor children and the spouse). In other words, even if it is agreed that the relationship is over there are important property issues that need to be addressed.
Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only. This answer does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on. Legal advice can only be provided after consultation with an attorney with experience in the area in which your concern lies. This is so because each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and/or documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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