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Delineating between marital property and human life in a divorce

Any divorce, no matter how amicable, is a complicated and emotionally challenging experience. From determining the valuation of bank accounts or retirement accounts to agreeing on a parental visitation plan or spousal support, the myriad of decisions to be made can be overwhelming. Michigan spouses going through a divorce face such hurdles every day.

As our society changes, new complications can arise in a divorce. A recent news article reported on the complexities now facing many divorcing couples when they have frozen embryos that need to be accounted for. Some states include embryos as part of the overall property division in a divorce, treating them as simply another financial asset. Yet, as the article reports, there are many nuances involved in such situations.

One such nuance relates to financial support of any children that are ultimately born from the embryos. One Kansas woman voluntarily gave up her rights to receive child support from her ex-husband but the state of Kansas is now pursuing the man for the support to essentially repay the public assistance that was paid to the mother. Another father in Maryland claims that his ex-wife’s ownership of their frozen embryos eliminates his ability to choose whether or not he will have any further children, putting him at risk for parental obligations that he does not want.

Cases like the above raise many questions about the delineation between marital property and human life and are examples of how deeply felt some divorce issues can be. If you are facing a divorce, working with an attorney may be helpful for you, especially if you have such unique circumstances.

Source: The Washington Times, “Are unborn children people or property in a divorce, and who decides?,” Myra Fleischer, September 19, 2013

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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