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Could the future of alimony include fertility treatments?

Any Texan who has been through a divorce knows that it can be an emotionally painful situation. For a woman whose childbearing years are coming to end, a divorce can be downright heartbreaking. Will her dream of motherhood ever come true?

It can be hard to pinpoint exactly how much longer a woman has to conceive a child. Those in their late 30s and early 40s are towards the end of the line. However, with advances in fertility treatments, woman can now freeze their eggs and store them for future use, creating opportunities for motherhood for older women.

Even with these advances available, should alimony include these treatments? For example, if a couple marries and decides to have children, but never do before they get divorced, is the husband obligated to pay for the woman's fertility treatments so she can have a child with another man?

This may seem ludicrous to many people, but this issue is currently at the center of a legal battle for a New Jersey couple who is in the midst of a divorce after eight years of marriage. A 38-year-old woman is asking her soon-to-be ex-husband to pay for fertility treatments to freeze her eggs - a whopping $20,000 in expenses.

Can fertility be given a monetary value? Are a woman's eggs considered assets that need to be considered in a divorce? There is no case law that exists on this topic, but in some cases, women have been awarded embryos that were created from a previous relationship.

Most people make sacrifices in order to keep their marriage afloat. Is delayed motherhood one of those sacrifices? If so, should a woman be compensated for it in a divorce? If you are divorcing, approaching your 40s and considering motherhood, explore your options with a family law attorney who can advise you of your next steps.


Source: 
The New York Times, "Alimony for Your Eggs" Sarah Eliabeth Richards, Sep. 06, 2013

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