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Should a property settlement include a woman's eggs?

A property settlement is an essential part of any Illinois divorce agreement. The assets and liabilities of a couple are divided in an equitable fashion, to best compensate both parties from the marriage. And equitable does not mean even, but it should be fair. For instance, if one spouse stayed home, because the other had a high-income from their career, the stay-at-home spouse may be entitled to alimony to make up for giving up a career. 

A new twist on what should be included in a property division involves a woman who wants her ex-husband to pay for the freezing of her eggs. The couple had attempted to use in vitro fertilization, but it had failed. Her attorney argues that these attempts to become pregnant were part of the marital lifestyle and the wife should be allowed to continue them with her eggs.

The clock is always ticking on a woman's fertility, and while a man can start a family when they have reached retirement age, women have a narrower window of opportunity. There are, however, many questions to consider in determining the expense of freezing eggs becomes part of a property settlement.

Perhaps, if a women waited to have children while her husband was engaged in a long course of study, say to become a doctor, and she had to work while he was in school to support the couple, it might be reasonable to require her husband to pay for the expense of freezing her eggs.

There appears to be no case law on this question and the attorney for the women hopes to settle out of court, but these are the sorts of issues that should be considered when you at putting together your proposed property division. 

Source: New York Times, "Alimony for Your Eggs," Sarah Elizabeth Richards, September 6, 2013

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