Tuesday, 13 January 2009


Dealing with the annual post Christmas influx of family work, I very nearly missed the tribulations of the couple arguing over a kidney. Last week it was disclosed that, as part of their divorce settlement, a New York doctor is demanding that his estranged wife return a kidney he donated to her when they were on better terms or else pay him $1.5 million for its value. I had assumed that as in England it might be rather hard to argue that a human organ is actually a marital asset, but today the woman’s lawyer has been reported as stating that the kidney wasn’t such a valuable gift after all, as apparently there were a number of other potential donors.

In many cases there can be difficulties in agreeing the basis upon which assets are to be valued, but transplant organs have to be in a league of their own. Maybe Shakespeare had a point and in future I’m going to have to take a little more seriously those clients who claim to be seeking their “pound of flesh.”

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