For divorcing parents in Florida, child custody issues can be contentious. However, advances in fertility treatments sometimes make divorce settlements even more complicated. Some couples, faced with possible infertility, choose to create and freeze embryos that they can use to start a family at a future date. One significant difficulty that comes up is when a couple divorces before using the embryos.
While responsible fertility clinics ask clients to sign an agreement that dictates what will be done with embryos if the couple ends their relationship, some clients have challenged the legality of these agreements. As a consequence, one partner may wish to make use of the embryos in further fertility treatments while the other may wish for the embryos to be destroyed.
This sort of dispute has serious implications for both parties. For example, if a woman wishes to have the embryos implanted so that she can give birth to the couple's child, the ex-husband may be required to pay child support. This could happen even if he did not want her to have the embryos implanted. On the other hand, if the man has no objection to the implantation but wants custody or visitation rights, the couple may find themselves locked in a further dispute particularly if the woman has the embryos implanted months or years after the divorce.
Men who are contemplating a divorce and who are concerned about their legal standing with respect to frozen embryos may benefit from speaking with an experienced fathers' rights attorney. Legal counsel can provide advice on this and other family law issues that are likely to arise during the proceedings.