Assisted Reproduction Opportunities and Legal Rights in Washington

For women across the globe, bearing and raising children is a wonderful opportunity that they hope to experience some day. Unfortunately, not all women are able to achieve this due to medical concerns. Through modern science, many women and couples are able conceive or raise a child through assisted reproduction. With over 1% of live births in Washington state occurring with the help of assisted reproduction methods, it is easy to see that technology is helping many parents to expand their families. The applied methods vary depending on the situation, but in any scenario it is important to establish and understand the rights of all parties concerned.

Contracts are an essential part in any assisted reproduction situation, to establish guidelines such as visitation concerns, legal rights, and other matters. The arrangement in question is very personal to all parties involved, and the agreement can be customized to fit every individual scenario. Contracts will help ensure that paperwork such as birth certificates are issued properly to avoid any conflicts that could cause problems through a child’s life. An adoption attorney can be extremely helpful in assuring that all issues are fully addressed and both parties are happy with the arrangements.

Women can artificially conceive through a number of scenarios. Donated sperm may be used to impregnate a woman. Washington law outlines that in these scenarios the donor would have no legal rights to the resulting child, in addition to no legal or financial responsibility.

Women can also help other women conceive through gamete donation. This process involves medically stimulating ovum production and retrieving the ovum through a minimally invasive surgery. The resulting ova are then used to create an embryo that will be implanted into another woman’s uterus to develop. This process is able to help women who are unable to produce ovum properly or women who are unable to safely house a fetus in their own uterus.

Even in the most seemingly straight-forward situations, contracts are imperative in establishing the rights of any donors, recipients, or other participants. Parenthood can excite surprising and personal feelings, and any parties changing their minds can cause a massive legal conflict if the agreement is not written down.

According to the Uniform Parentage Act, as defined in the Revised Code of Washington Section 26, if a woman gives birth through assisted reproduction her spouse is usually recognized as a legal parent of the child. To secure this role, however, it is sometimes advisable to legally adopt the child. For instance, for same-sex couples, if the mother’s partner or spouse adopts the child it will greatly increase the chances of maintaining legal rights in all states.

Science has provided wonderful opportunities for aspiring parents across Washington, but it is important to take the legal steps necessary to ensure that the process is completed with no complications.

Military Divorce and Legal Separation

My husband is in the U.S. Army and has asked me for a legal separation, what, if any benefits would I still be entitled too if we were separated? Also my husband is being rumored to be sleeping with a married woman to whom he serves as a team leader he’s an E-5 she’s an E-2, how much trouble could this cause him if this rumor spreads to the wrong people. They both deny it, and I know it to be untrue.

As a separated spouse, you would be entitled to all the benefits that you currently have as a married spouse. There are only two kinds of people in the Army — married and single(never married/divorced/widowed) – separated is not a separate category, as you are still married. However, separation does give you one benefit that you do not currently enjoy. As a married spouse, your husband is supposed to support you, but he may choose not to. As a separated spouse, you are entitled to a certain level of support. Essentially, unless you have a court order that says otherwise OR you sign a separation agreement, he must (assuming no other children or ex-spouse he is supporting) pay you the full amount of his Basic Allowance for Housing, or provide you in-kind support (such as housing or groceries, etc) if you agree. Other than that, you are still entitled to medical care, the commissary, PX, and all other benefits.

It is important that you see the Legal Assistance Office of your Staff Judge Advocate’s office if you and he intend to separate to preserve your legal right to the monetary support to which you are entitled. This assistance is free, and you will be assigned your own attorney who represents you alone, and not you and your husband. Ensure that, if you do separate, you get a fair accounting and distribution of property. Before you sign anything, make sure you fully understand it. You can share all of the information with your attorney, who will be bound by attorney-client privilege not to disclose any of the information you provide without your consent. Army attorneys in legal assistance work for you, not for the Army as their client. Of course, ask your attorney to reiterate his obligations, but he (or she) will tell you as I have.

He cannot turn your husband in for having an affair, but you may use that as leverage in getting a divorce on your terms in the way of property distribution and support. In many states, adultery is grounds for a quick divorce with no separation period. The attorney works for you, will advise you on your options, but works for you, and will keep your information private unless you consent to it being used.

As to the rumors, if they reach official ears, he could be investigated to determine whether it is true. Potentially, he could be court-martialed (although unlikely) or given an Article 15 for adultery. However, to prove adultery, usually one or the other must confess or they must be caught having sexual relations. There are other offenses, though, if he is in her chain of command. He could be relieved of his position and have other administrative consequences. And those are only the official consequences — unofficially, it could cause the rest of his unit to look differently at him and lose respect for him. It is best to try and squelch this rumor as soon as possible.

Divorce Attorneys – A Legal Ally

Unless you are extremely familiar with the legal system or an attorney yourself, you will need to hire a divorce attorney in order to navigate the legal system in the event of a divorce. Additionally, many couples must hire a divorce lawyer to represent them in court when they must divide their assets. A good attorney is important to divorce proceedings to ensure that the divorcing parties can move on as quickly, and hassle-free as possible. There are logistics involved with a divorce including child support, custody, debt, and assets that can be very difficult for the divorcing parties to attempt to handle on their own. The divorce attorney will provide all documentation in regards to to each of these logistics, and fight for their client to get a fair settlement.

They will also advise their client of their rights and keep them updated on the divorce proceedings. Ideally, the attorney should make the process as smooth as possible and keep the divorce proceedings out of a court of law. It is true that good lawyers are expensive but, this does not mean that all divorce attorneys will be too expensive to retain for divorce proceedings. In fact, many lawyers will be expensive because they may have developed a reputation, which earns them the right to ask for higher attorney’s fees. However, it is possible to find a good lawyer through word-of-mouth recommendations, especially if they are fairly new to divorce law and have yet to build a respectable clientele base.

The best way to find a good lawyer at an affordable price is to research the lawyer’s case records. Case records have information on the lawyer’s previous cases and what type of settlement they were able to get for their client. If the lawyer does not have a large clientele or reputation, these case records can be helpful in determining how the lawyer may handle your case. Most lawyers will offer a free consultation with their potential clients. Consider speaking with several different lawyers during these consultations to ask questions specific to your case to decide if they are compatible with your situation.

Most people will think of lawyers as a group of savvy talkers, who overcharge their clients for legal services. However, during a sensitive and stressful time, a divorce lawyer can be a very handy ally and companion. Divorce is a big life decision, and finding a good, trustworthy attorney should be a thorough and informed decision.