What would be considered marital property in a North Dakota divorce is far broader than one can imagine. In a series of legal cases that have been heard in several different states throughout the country, spouses have clashed over whether embryos that were created during the marriage can be used by the mother after a divorce to potentially create a child.
One bitter case has unfolded in Arizona. The woman froze an embryo with her eggs and her husband’s sperm after she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. This would be her only chance to have a biological child as her cancer treatments resulted in menopause. The difficulty arose when the couple ended up in a bitter divorce, and the woman still wanted to use the embryo. The husband refused, claiming that he had a right not to be a father. The woman won the initial legal battle, but an appeals court reversed the lower court’s decision.
Many think that this legal issue will eventually make its way to the Supreme Court. The issue has also gotten caught up in the political debate and many will try to bring the issue to the attention of the court. Each side has advanced meaningful arguments in the case. In the meantime, it shows exactly how bitter divorce can be when there are hurt feelings on both sides, and spouses act out of bitterness.
One should always try to work out the complicated issues in a divorce to avoid years of costly and stressful battles. However, some issues are intractable and may end up in litigation. Even if the divorce is amicable, it helps to have a family law attorney. The lawyer may actually be able to facilitate negotiations in the case and bring it to a close in a resolved and hopefully amicable manner.