Thursday,
April 28, 2016.
posted in Family Law
Embryos pose a challenge for family law courts

On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.

When a Florida couple is unable to reach an agreement on how to divide their shared assets, the matter often ends up going before a court. This is true for married couples, as well as for those who have simply lived together for a period of time. The laws of each state address the division of marital property, but there are some issues that fall outside the scope of existing family law. An example lies in former partners who cannot agree on what to do with frozen embryos created during their relationship.

An example is found in the high profile case between actress Sophia Vergara and her former partner. The couple created multiple embryos, and unsuccessfully tried to have a child using a surrogate. When the pair split, Vergara’s ex wanted to retain the right to use the embryos to have a child. The actress refused, and asserts that the contract the couple signed at the onset of the fertility process clearly outlined that the embryos would not be used unless both parties were in agreement on when and how.

The matter centers on determining which party’s rights or interests should weigh more heavily in a dispute that centers on the most basic components of human life. From one perspective, the party who has moved on and does not want to be forced into parenthood with a former partner has a very strong position. On the other hand, the party who wants to retain the right to bring a child into the world that he or she has helped to create also has an argument to present.

In similar cases, family law courts have addressed the issue from the perspective of contract law, and have ruled based on the terms laid out in the fertility contract. However, there have been cases in which the party who wanted to use the embryos to have a child was granted the right to do so. In those cases, however, the prevailing party was usually unable to conceive a child through any other means, due to age, health conditions and so on. Many Florida residents will continue to follow this case to learn how the matter will be resolved, as the outcome could impact similar cases across the nation.

Source:

New York Post, “The Sofia Vergara embryo trial could change men’s rights forever“, Julia Marsh, Sept. 16, 2016

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