You Can’t Sell Your Kidney In the Divorce

Feb 26, 2009

Not that this comes as a surprise… but a a New York court has denied a husband’s request that his soon-to-be-ex wife return a donated kidney or pay him for the value as part of the divorce.

When this case first made headlines, many divorce lawyers wondered if this was some sort of hoax and started debating some of the potential legal issues.  Is a kidney a non-marital asset?  If so, is the non-marital character lost by “co-mingling” this asset with others (namely the spouse’s organs)?  How would you trace this non-marital claim?  Is the donation a gift?  If so, is it a conditional or unconditional gift?  And how do you even begin to value a kidney?

In the end, none of that matters, it really comes down to public policy and laws we have against selling human organs.