Embryo Issues in Divorce Cases

 Posted on November 01, 2022 in Family Law

dupage county divorce lawyerThe Second District Appellate Court recently dealt with a somewhat unusual topic in a divorce case when it had to rule on a case involving custody of frozen embryos. People who are involved in complex disputes relating to the dissolution of their marriage will want to work with an experienced divorce attorney. In re Marriage of Katsap, 2022 Ill. App. 2d 210706, was a court case in which Eneya Katsap was appealing a trial court judgment for dissolution of marriage to Alexander Katsap. 

Determining Custody for Embryos

The couple created frozen embryos and stored their embryos at the New England Fertility Institute in Stamford, Connecticut. While the couple once resided in upstate New York and formed and co-owned a business there, marital difficulties caused Alexander to move out in March 2020. The following month, Eneya, the child, and Eneya’s parents moved to Naperville, Illinois. In May 2020, Eneya petitioned in DuPage County for dissolution of marriage and cited irreconcilable differences. It was nearly a year later when Alexander filed a counterpetition for dissolution of marriage but withdrew before trial. 

Alexander filed a motion to permanently restrain Eneya from using the frozen embryos or seeking child support for any child born from the frozen embryos. He claimed that Eneya forged his name on a contract and alleged that the contract was invalid. The parties allegedly signed a contract in July 2015 giving the embryos to Eneya should the parties divorce, and that document was identified and entered into evidence. Alexander denied entering into that contract, saying that he did not sign Eneya’s exhibit and identifying all of the handwriting on the exhibit as being Eneya’s. Alexander’s stated intention in creating the embryos was to donate the embryos if the marriage ended. However, Eneya said they couple agreed that she would keep the embryos if the marriage ended. The court ultimately granted Alexander exclusive possession and control of the embryos. 

The court determined Eneya’s interest in preserving and potentially using the embryos to procreate outweighed Alexander’s stated interest in donating them. The Second District Appellate Court essentially affirmed the judgment of the circuit court of DuPage County that the ketubah, a marital agreement that is a supposedly essential requirement of traditional Orthodox Jewish weddings in Israel, was unenforceable, and reversed the circuit court’s award of the embryos and the escrow to Alexander, vacating the child support award, and remanding it to the trial court for recalculation of the child support award in accordance with section 750 Illinois Consolidated Statute 505(a)(2).

Call Us Today to Speak with a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Do you have an unorthodox contested issue in your divorce? Contact the experienced Hinsdale divorce lawyers at Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio. Our firm handles all kinds of complicated divorce issues, ranging from child and spousal support to custody and visitation to division of property. Call 630-920-8855 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with our Chicago divorce and family law attorney.





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