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Appellate Court in St. Louis Grants Couple “Joint Custody” of Their Frozen Embryos

McHenry County divorce attorneyTechnology and medicine have made massive advancements over the last several years. In fact, things have progressed so quickly that the law has fallen behind. Consider, for example, the numerous cases involving frozen embryos, many with different outcomes. One of the most recent cases involves the awarding of “joint custody” to a divorcing couple in Missouri. Learn more about this recent case, some of the previous rulings, and how all this could impact your divorce case if there are frozen embryos involved.

St. Louis Appellate Court’s Recent Ruling

The problem with embryos is that they are not, under most laws, considered human. They are not property either though – not really. They do not have monetary value. They cannot be split. Instead, the couple must attempt to come to an agreement about the fate of the embryos. When unable to do so, the court is forced to make sense of this confusing but unique legal situation.

Historically, courts have ruled that embryos must be thawed and destroyed. However, there have been some rulings that granted “custody” of the embryo to one spouse or the other. Generally speaking, such rulings have only taken place in marriages where one spouse may have been deemed infertile, and the only chance to conceive is held within the embryos. Of course, this creates a sticky situation: a person who no longer wants to have a child with their ex-spouse is essentially forced to do so against their will if the embryos are granted to a party that wants to conceive. This is exactly what originally happened in the St. Louis case.

According to the St. Louis Dispatch, the wife had originally been given “custody” of the embryos, but her husband appealed the divorce court’s decision. He did not feel comfortable with the idea of having a child with his ex-spouse. The appellate court saw where he was coming from and decided to grant the couple “joint custody” of the embryos. They will not be destroyed. They will continue to be stored. However, neither can use the embryos without the other’s permission. Unfortunately, gaining consent may not be easy for the would-be mother.

Facing an Embryo Dispute? Contact Our McHenry County Divorce Lawyer

Embryos in divorce are a complex matter that can easily lead to contention. The Thomas Law Office may be able to help. Dedicated and experienced, our McHenry County divorce lawyer can work with you to devise a creative solution that can hopefully satisfy all involved parties. In every situation, we pursue the most favorable outcome. Call 847-426-7990 and schedule your personalized consultation with us today.

Sources:

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/divorced-st-louis-county-couple-s-frozen-embryos-are-property/article_396ca794-e3d3-5166-9e29-485feff8e6d4.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2017/02/a-custody-battle-over-embryos/514934/

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