‘Patriarchal’ sexless annulment law must be reformed, divorcing doctor says



A “patriarchal” law that allows a marriage to be annulled if it has not been consummated needs to be reformed, the wife of a tech boss said after winning a legal battle over a divorce.

Husayn Kassai, co-founder of tech company Onfido, had wanted a judge to declare her marriage to Dr. Niloofar Tabarra, 31, void, on the grounds that she had refused to have sex with him.

Dr Tabarra denied that their marriage had not been consummated and said she had received a text message showing that they had had sex at a hotel in Prague.

She said their relationship had been characterized by “domestic abuse and coercive control” and wanted a divorce. He denies the request.

She added her ex-husband had a business worth “millions of pounds” and lawyers said if the marriage was called off it would reduce the amount of money she could claim.

Mr Kassai agreed to divorce on Tuesday on the grounds that he behaved unreasonably in the final round of the litigation.

A judge, who oversaw a virtual public hearing in the High Court’s family division, said the dispute was a “tragedy” for the couple.

Judge Moor, who did not draw any conclusions from Dr Tabarra’s allegations of domestic violence, learned that the couple married in June 2018 and that the marriage had indeed lasted six months.

He said the marriage should be dissolved as soon as possible and disputes over money should be resolved.

The judge said that requests for nullity for non-consumption were very rare and caused “great anguish and anger”.

After the hearing, lawyer Charlotte Proudman, who represented Dr Tabarra, said the law would have required a judge to decide whether the couple had had penetrative sex before concluding that the marriage should be annulled for no -consumption.

She said the law was “patriarchal” and needed to be changed.

“In order for a judge to decide whether a marriage has been consummated, he would have to investigate the most intimate and personal details of their sex life,” she said.

“The law is outdated and does not recognize modern marriages.

“There are all kinds of rainbow colors in sex, people can enjoy sex that is not penetrating.”

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this article stated that a request for money could not be made if a marriage was called off. The article has been changed to reflect that a request for money can be made in this situation, but the amount claimed would be reduced



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