Marriage Fraud: Beauty and the Beast
A bizarre story currently making the news is in regards to a newly married man who has filed for divorce from his new wife for allegedly “deceiving him” by the amount of makeup she wore. According to the Arabic newspaper Aletihad, the 30 year old man was shocked to discover that his 24 year old wife had had cosmetic surgery, wore false eyelashes and colored contact lenses.
The husband claims that he became aware of these cosmetic enhancements while the couple was on their honeymoon in Sharjah, United Arab Emitates and swimming at Al Mamzar Beach. Apparently while the couple was at the beach, the wife emerged from the water without her makeup on, as it had washed off in the water, thereby enlightening the husband to the alleged deception. Despite the wife’s appeals for the husband not to do so, the husband quickly filed for divorce to end their marriage based on this purported fraud by the wife. The wife is said to have been planning to tell the husband about her makeup use and the surgery and had even gone to psychological counseling for same.
In order for a marriage to be valid, the parties must have the freedom to consent to same and this consent must be voluntary. While absence of consent may exist through fraud, thus rendering the marriage void, a fraudulent misrepresentation is one which was made with the knowledge that it is untrue and with the intent to deceive. While the wife here may have worked to actively conceal what she may have perceived as imperfections in her appearance, fraudulent misrepresentation does not occur when there are no reasonable grounds to rely upon such representation.