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Divorce: Court rules embryo contract is enforceable

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2019 | Divorce

At the time a couple says their vows, they likely have a great deal of plans for the future. For many, this includes children. While many couples plan for children in the future, the path to parenthood may look different from couple to couple. For example, for those who may want to delay parenthood, many choose to freeze embryos. While this option has been beneficial for many in Virginia, the question of what happens to the embryos following a divorce has been one that many courts across the country have been asked to address.

In fact, the Supreme Court in another state recently issued a ruling regarding how embryos should be treated for couples who have a signed contract regarding the fate of embryos in the event of a divorce. The case involves a couple who had one child through in vitro fertilization. The remaining embryos were frozen, and the couple signed a contract agreeing that they would be destroyed in the event of a divorce.

The man claims that he had a change of heart after the woman filed for divorce. He then stated that he either wanted to preserve them in case the couple reconciled or allow another couple to use them. A judge ultimately ruled that their contract was unenforceable and that the embryos should be considered marital property; however, they were awarded to the woman.

The man then appealed that decision to the Connecticut Supreme Court. The court recently issued a unanimous ruling that reversed the lower court’s decision that the contract was unenforceable. However, what happens to embryos when there is no such contract in place has yet to be decided.  

While many couples who are seeking to end their marriage face relatively straight-forward decisions, often more complex questions arise. In some cases, the law may have not caught up with medical advances. Regardless of the complexity of the question, most people in Virginia going through a divorce want an experienced family law attorney on their side who can guide them through the process and help them seek the answers they need.

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Attorney Harvey S Lutins