Negotiating for your vital organs is not a part of any martial settlement agreement. However, for one Israeli woman, donating her kidney to save the life of her children’s father, her ex-husband, was a choice she made above and beyond her contractual responsibilities.
Eilat of Love
Although the ex-wife, Adel, has been divorced for nearly ten years, her divorce and the terms of her marital settlement agreement, did not stop her from donating a kidney to her former husband when she found out his health condition had worsened.
The 41-year-old Rosh Pina resident said in an interview with fashion magazine, Laisha, that she and her spouse have been divorced for nine years, but she did not hesitate to answer the call for help – not least because of the children, of whom the two share custody.
“When I woke up after the surgery, there was some manageable pain. A week later I still feel it, yet anxious to go back to being the Mitzpe Shalom resort manager in the Golan Heights.”
She was aware of her ex-husband’s kidney problems when they met. She states she was 24 at the time and he was 29. He was an accountant and had already been donated one kidney from his mother. He told me right away, but I didn’t care. When I was pregnant with our second child, his father donated another kidney. Seven years later we got divorced. The second kidney held up for 11 years, up until six months ago.
After their divorce their relationship was complicated. But in the last few years things improved:
We’re both involved with other people now. His girlfriend is wonderful and so is my boyfriend. His name is Eitan, and I told him when we met that if there was a time my ex would need my kidney, he’ll have it. Eitan accepted it right away.
Her ex-husband tested positive for COVID eight months ago and required dialysis and a new kidney. The woman told her ex-mother-in-law, that it was her turn to step up for him. It was very emotional.
Without informing him, she began moving things along. When it was clear she was a match, they informed the kids and then her ex-husband. “He thanked me, but was also concerned about who will attend to the kids while we’re both in surgery.”
Florida Marital Settlement Agreement
I have written about people donating vital organs to their ex spouses before. Erica Arsenault, of Massachusetts, volunteered to donate a kidney to her former mother-in-law years after her divorce. But donations of vital organs are not terms you see in a marital settlement agreement. Donations go beyond the requirements of an agreement.
Most family law cases are resolved by agreement, not by trial. A Marital Settlement Agreement is the method to resolving all of the issues, and is the final product of the negotiations.
A marital settlement agreement puts in writing all the aspects of the divorcing parties’ settlement. Topics covered in the Marital Settlement Agreement include the parenting plan and timesharing schedule, the division of the parties’ assets and liabilities (called “equitable distribution”), alimony, child support, payment of attorney’s fees and costs, and any other items to which the parties have agreed.
A marital settlement agreement entered into by the parties and ratified by a final judgment is a contract, subject to the laws of contract. The enforceability of contracts in Florida is a matter of importance in Florida public policy.
Accordingly, because a marital settlement agreement is treated like any other contract, and is subject to interpretation like any other contract, they can be enforced by the court.
According to Adel, there was no hesitation:
It was clear to me I would do this. He’s the great father to my children, and they need an involved parental figure in their lives to be happy. In my opinion, when you get divorced, the children should always be top priority.
Interestingly she did not consult with anyone. Some family members and friends raised an eyebrow, but they realized how determined she was. Her ex-husband and she had some heart-to-heart conversations about this, and there were people who helped move the process along from an operational perspective.
Doctors explained after the operation she would feel no difference in her day-to-day life. It’s like we were born with two kidneys so we would give one away when needed. What Adel did not anticipate is that she would be a match for someone else while waiting for the surgery.
The donation coordinator at Rabin Medical Center called and said there’s a young man who has been waiting for a kidney match for four years and she was ideal for it. She cried, because now there were two people who needed her help to live.
She spoke with both her ex-husband and the other, who said that as far as he’s concerned, the young man’s new kidney would come from her, while her the other person would receive his from another altruistic donor, who is a doctor himself from Soroka Medical Center.
The organ donation department director at Rabin Medical Center, said:
“This a complex multi-donation event. Whenever that happens, we feel very excited to be able to grant someone a new lease on life.”
The Ynet article is here.