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Frozen embryos raise questions in family law

The recent dilemma of one actress and her soon-to-be-ex-husband has brought new questions to light in divorces all across the country. It is a case that could affect family law in Michigan and other states all over the U.S. Lawyers, judges, and divorce parties are trying to decide if should frozen embryos be treated as marital property, or should custody be granted for them just like it is with living children?

The stance of the actress was a simple one. While her husband wanted to keep their embryos to hopefully implant into another woman, the actress wanted them destroyed. She maintained that she had the right to decide whether or not she wanted to become a biological mother, even if she wasn't the one who gave birth. She won the right to destroy the embryos.

For a couple in another state, the argument is the opposite. The woman wants to keep her embryos for possible implantation at a later time. Her husband wants the embryos destroyed. A lawyer in this case argues that the embryos should never have been entered as marital property, but should have been considered the same as children would be.

In Michigan, a divorce lawyer would be able to explain to either party how the law in his or her state looks at frozen embryos. In many cases, there is no precedent set for such incidences, and the judge will make the final decision. With these new cases, however, the way family law looks at frozen embryos all over the country could change soon.

Source:, "Colorado case spotlights divorce dilemma on frozen embryos", Shannon Levitt, Aug. 29, 2017

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