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Who Gets Custody of Frozen Embryos?

Arizona’s laws regarding who gets custody of frozen embryos, also known as in-vitro human embryos, in the event of a divorce or separation differ from other states. Further, both the State legislature and Arizona Supreme Court have recently weighed in on the subject. Due to recent developments and unique laws, many individuals in Arizona wonder who gets custody of frozen embryos in the event of a divorce or separation.

Arizona Frozen Embryo Custody Laws

In late 2019, Arizona passed a law stating that whichever individual intends to develop the frozen embryos to birth shall gain custody of them in the event of a divorce. If both spouses wish to develop the frozen embryos, Arizona’s new law states that the embryos will be awarded in a manner that provides them the best chance to develop to birth. In the event that only one spouse provided sperm or ovum for the creation of in-vitro human embryos, that individual shall be awarded custody of the resulting frozen embryos.

Can an Agreement Decide Custody of Frozen Embryos?

Many organizations that provide in-vitro human embryo services in Arizona require spouses to sign a contract designating who will gain custody of the frozen embryos in the event of a divorce or separation. However, state law dictates that in-vitro human embryos will still be awarded as previously described regardless of any contract.

This means that previously signed agreements may not apply to frozen embryo custody in the event of a future divorce. However, the law does not apply retroactively, meaning that previous frozen embryo custody disputes already decided by the court are still valid.

Financial Support for Children Born from Frozen Embryos

If a spouse is not awarded custody of in-vitro human embryos, their rights and obligations to a child born from the embryos may change. In Arizona, an individual may not be forced to become a legal parent of a child born from the embryos if they do not wish. In this case, an individual may not have any legal parental rights, responsibilities, or obligations for the child. This may include the payments of child support or any claim to custody.

Contact an Experienced Family Lawyer Today

Navigating the division of assets and other factors may quickly become a burden for individuals going through a divorce. A knowledgeable family law attorney from our team could guide you through this complicated process and help you understand how local courts handle frozen embryo custody cases in Arizona. Contact the experienced family lawyers at Modern Law for a consultation today.