Should fertility have value in a divorce settlement?

More and more couples these days are putting off having children until they have built their careers, set enough funds aside for a retirement nest egg or even taken time out to travel the world. At the same time that more couples are waiting to have kids, more marriages are ending in divorce.

For some women, they fall into both of these categories. What happens when they get a divorce later in life and haven’t had the chance to have kids? Can a woman’s fertility be given a value? Should the court consider it in an alimony determination or a property settlement?

When a spouse forgoes career opportunities in order to keep the home and take care of the kids, family courts in states like Georgia that follow the equitable distribution theory may consider this non-monetary contribution in a property settlement. In some instances, it might mean a higher spousal support order. Why not fertility too?

A woman can’t have kids forever. She has a window of opportunity that starts to close as she ages. Science and technology have made it possible to extend this period, but it comes with a hefty price tag. Women can freeze their eggs and store them until they choose to have kids or meet a new partner. The average procedure and storage costs range from $5,000 to $13,000, and in some instances even higher. What if a woman has reached an age where a surrogate becomes necessary?

One woman in New Jersey recently requested that her husband provide $20,000 to pay for prolonging her fertility after she never received the family she was promised. In her jurisdiction, there is no law that directly covers this situation. For her, it is up to the attorney not only to present the argument to the court, but convince the judge as well.

Laws often provide a general guideline for a broad number of situations, which is why having a good divorce attorney, protecting your interests, matters. This post is only one example of an endless number of issues that could arise during a divorce.

Source: The New York Times, “Alimony for Your Eggs,” Sharah Elizabeth Richards, Sept. 6, 2013

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