In a story likely to make men worldwide a bit more insecure about themselves, a Taiwanese woman recently procured a divorce from her husband, in part, because he had a small penis. Making matters worse was the wife’s quote that "His penis is so small, like a kid’s, only 5 centimeters long. We’ve never had sex in our entire marriage."
Likely in an effort to keep his parts private, the husband allegedly refused to have sexual intercourse with his wife prior to the marriage, citing religious reasons. It was only on the parties’ wedding night when the wife first discovered the "issue." Notably, however, the wife also claimed that the husband was impotent and unable to fulfill his responsibility as a husband (in a response that most men could not argue with, the husband simply preferred to fulfill his duty in the morning, and was too tired when she came calling at around midnight).
This case brought to mind the recent matter, also subject to tabloid fodder, where a man was granted a divorce because he claimed his wife was ugly. His claim was that their child looked nothing like the wife, and it was then that the wife revealed that she had undergone massive plastic surgery to make her more physically attractive.
Are these cases on the far side of bizarre? Absolutely. Do they provide the sort of subject matter that the New York Post, Huffington Post and Daily Mail feast on for readers. Certainly. How then, can they possibly relate to New Jersey law? Well, as we have blogged about in the past, New Jersey is a "no fault" state, where people typically obtain a divorce based on irreconcilable differences without getting into such tawdry claims like a man’s package size or a wife’s looks.
These types of claims, however, may be a basis for an annulment in New Jersey. As many readers may know from the ongoing Kardashian/Humphries saga, an annulment nullifies the divorce retroactively, as if it never happened. New Jersey’s annulment law may be based on several claims including bigamy, duress, lack of age (non-age), incapacity, impotence, incest, and fraud.
Without getting into the details of what each of those options means, for the sake of this post and the husband’s dignity, we can focus on the claims of impotence and fraud. Here, aside from the husband’s alleged lack of stature, the wife also claimed that the husband was impotent and unable to fulfill his husband-type duties. The wife added that she did not discover this to be the case until the parties’ wedding night. In New Jersey, she could, as a result, potentially have a claim for an annulment based on the husband’s impotence. Whether such a claim, or that with the so-called "ugly" wife could fall under a claim of fraud is a stretch, but so are the facts of these cases.
While I am not sure what lessons can be learned here, one thing that can be said for sure is that, thankfully, in New Jersey, it is not the size that matters.
Robert Epstein is an associate in Fox Rothschild LLP’s Family Law Practice Group. Robert practices in the firm’s Roseland, New Jersey office and can be reached at (973) 994-7526, or firstname.lastname@example.org.