January 13, 2009

And I Want The Police Albums Too

The law, once again, guides the way.

A doctor from New York found his marriage failing. So too was his wife's health. He donated his kidney and saved her life. She was grateful -- but not grateful enough to continue the marriage. Now, the guy wants his kidney back. Or, in its place, a million and a half.

I say, no way. The kidney was a gift. An interspousal gift, but a gift all the same and interspousal gifts become personal property once the marriage is dissolved. I remember at least that much from law school.

And morally, it's an easy call, too. Without the kidney, she'll die. The husband gave her the kidney to save her life -- without her alive, he'd have had zero chance of salvaging his marriage. Unfortunately, the marriage didn't work out anyway, but that's a chance we all take, all the time. Meanwhile, he's at least saved her life -- something which is and ought to be considered its own reward.

My only question is, why is the judge even allowing the argument to go forward? Sure, I understand the man feels betrayed -- his wife went and had an affair two years after she got her husband's kidney. But it's an interspousal gift and by law, the organ cannot be sold from donor to recipient so even if it weren't the market value of the kidney is zero. So this can't possibly be relevant to any issue relating to the determination or distribution of marital assets.

No comments: