Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
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What happens to embryos created through IVF in a divorce

Georgia couples may find it difficult to go through the divorce process when they have children. If they decide to get a divorce when they are going through in-vitro fertilization, however, they may find it even more difficult as they may need to determine what will happen to any embryos that may have already been created.

When a couple begins the IVF process, the storage facility working with the couple often requires that they sign a consent form that allows the embryos that are created to be frozen. The consent agreement rarely covers what should happen to the embryos if the couple divorces during the process. In some cases, the couple may be able to decide that the embryos should still be stored, be donated or be destroyed.

There are very few protections for frozen embryos under the law. In fact, it can be argued that the consent agreement is not enforceable in court. Because the frozen embryos are considered to be joint marital property until the embryo is implanted, both individuals must decide together what should happen. While the court generally does not allow one spouse to compel the other spouse to become a parent against their will, there are some exceptions that can potentially be made.

If a couple decides to go through with a pregnancy through IVF after going through a divorce, both parents are entitled to parenting time unless there are extenuating circumstances. A family law attorney may assist with drafting a parenting plan that outlines how the child will be raised, where the child will live and which family members can be involved in the child's life. The attorney may also assist with determining when and where the child will be exchanged and work out a child support agreement.

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Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
4799 Sugarloaf Pkwy
Building J
Lawrenceville, GA 30044

Phone: 770-676-1191
Fax: 770-963-2828
Lawrenceville Law Office Map

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