A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Le Divorce

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By Alison Parker

Not getting enough bedroom action from your hubby? If you live in France that’s worth approximately $14,000 (U.S.). A Frenchwoman divorced her husband and brought an additional claim for a lack of lovemaking throughout their 21years of marriage, suing under a French Civil Code provision which states that married couples must agree to a “shared communal life.” Despite her husband attributing his lackluster performance between the sheets to “tiredness and health problems,” the judge agreed with Madame that “sexual relations must form part of a marriage.”

This case got LASIS wondering, how would this kind of claim fare outside of France?  

We couldn’t find any other cases of somebody being awarded money for an ex-spouse’s low libido but we did find some post-divorce lawsuits that made for interesting reading.  Some claims are relatively petty; for example, in the US you can sue your spouse for reading your e-mails or eavesdropping on your telephone conversations. Other available grounds for suit in the US are not so petty; you could sue assault or for the transmission of a sexually-transmitted disease

Or you could sue your spouse to get your kidney back. Take the 2009 case of Long Island surgeon Richard Batista, whose marriage was on the rocks due to his wife suffering from kidney failure. Her situation seemed hopeless, her body had already rejected kidney transplants from both her dad and her brother but when Dr. Batista gave her his kidney she made a miraculous comeback– the marriage improved, she decided to head back to school to get a master’s degree, and she even took up karate lessons. She had so much energy, in fact, that she embarked on a love affair…with another man.  When Dr. Batista found out he didn’t only sue for a divorce–he wanted his kidney back too! (Or $1.5 million, whichever was easier.) Although the case was settled and the terms are confidential, no court would have ordered her to give back the kidney, and Dr. Batista’s donation would have been deemed a marital gift.

If Dr. Batista had lived in North Carolina, he could have also sued his wife’s new lover. Along with a few other states, North Carolina allows a civil suit for “criminal conversation” against a  spouse’s paramour–a 2001 jury awarded $1.4 million in compensatory and punitive damages against one such homewrecker. The claim is almost too easy to prove–all you have to show is that you were married and that your spouse had a sexual relationship with someone else. Word to the wise: if out for a good time in North Carolina, make sure you don’t hook up with someone who’s married!

In 2010, New York was the last state in the nation to adopt no-fault divorce. So these days if you want a divorce, any reason goes.  This will presumably lower the rate of nasty allegations in divorce proceedings.

In countries without no-fault divorce, lawyers are still arguing some pretty embarrassing facts on behalf of their divorce-desiring clients.  Take for example, a Russian woman who asked for a divorce in 2009 because her husband’s penis extension broke off during a wild romping session. The husband initially sought to up his ante after his wife indicated her dissatisfaction with his intimate performances. Things were hot and steamy for a while, but apparently once his penis broke off, so did the couple.

Comments

2 Comments »

2 Responses

  1. Peter Snyderman says:

    this piece got me laughing out loud!

  2. Princess Ali says:

    Me too. Especially that case in Russia.

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