Jack Strauss

Jack Strauss

To keep Edna from becoming heir-conditioned, her husband Peter insisted she take “the pill” – under close supervision as he stood beside her – on every occasion they contemplated having sex.

Ultimately, however, Edna came to the conclusion that her husband was more of a pill than “the pill” and sued to end their marriage on the grounds of extreme cruelty.

“I just can’t take it anymore," Edna tearfully told the judge. “Peter follows me around to make sure I take the pill like I was a nudist and he was a mosquito. He’s gone stork-mad, and he’s driving me nuts also.”

“Aw,” responded Peter. “My wife’s just over-reacting. Making sure Edna doesn’t forget to take the pill is for her own benefit. Women all over the world are thankful for the pill. So, how can it be cruel for me to make sure Edna takes the pill also?"

If you were the judge, would you end Edna’s marriage because of husband Peter’s conduct in making sure she doesn’t forget to take the pill?

This is how the judge ruled. No! The judge held that while total rejection of marital relations has been held to constitute extreme cruelty, Peter’s insisting that his wife take contraceptive pills, to the contrary, does not constitute such extreme cruelty. In so holding, the judge noted that a contrary view has been expressed in a few other states but that question has not been presented for decision in most other states.

Based upon a 1967 New Jersey Superior Court Decision.

Jack Strauss, a retired New York City trial attorney who now resides in Berea, wrote a syndicated column for 36 years called, “What’s the Law?” It appeared in papers coast to coast, including the Pittsburgh Press, the Los Angeles Examiner, the Hartford Times, the Kansas City Star and the Philadelphia Daily News, among many others. It appears here with his permission.

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