When a marriage ends in divorce, both spouses often want to keep a similar lifestyle as they enjoyed during the marriage. However, because one spouse often earns more than the other spouse, this is hard to do unless spousal support, or alimony, is awarded.
Spousal support can come in different forms. It can be awarded on a permanent or temporary basis, and it can involve a lump sum or monthly payments. When one spouse asks the other spouse for alimony, he or she must be prepared to describe what the money is needed for.
In a recent case involving a New Jersey couple, the wife asked her soon-to-be ex-husband to pay her $20,000 in alimony so that she could continue fertility treatments in effort to conceive a child. The woman and her attorney — in one of the first cases of its kind — are arguing that since the couple engaged in fertility treatments during the marriage, the treatments should be considered part of the marital lifestyle and, therefore, maintained after the divorce.
The issue of advanced fertility options is getting bigger in the family law setting, though it appears that courts aren’t quite sure how to handle the cases. In rare circumstances, courts have granted parties to a divorce case custody of fertilized embryos, but this is a very touchy subject as the ex-spouse undoubtedly also has an interest in the fate of the embryos.
In the New Jersey case, the woman is only asking for money to freeze her own eggs instead of permission to use eggs fertilized by her ex, which is why some legal experts say it may be easier for courts to approve. Although the New Jersey case is expected to settle out of court, it is likely that similar cases on the same issue could follow in its footsteps.
Source: The New York Times, “Alimony for Your Eggs,” Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Sept. 6, 2013