Celebrity’s embryo dispute of importance for unmarried couples

Unmarried couples in Arizona often face many legal challenges. A recent dispute between popular actress Sofia Vergara and her former fiancé has brought one of those issues into public awareness. Currently, the celebrity actress is now embroiled in a dispute with her millionaire ex-fiancé regarding the custody of some frozen embryos the couple created during their rather brief pre-wedding romance.

According to court documents and other sources, the pair had been previously attempting to produce a child via surrogate while they were together. Now that the couple has since decided to split up, a disagreement has now emerged regarding what to do with those frozen embryos. The former boyfriend is now requesting that a California judge issue an order to prevent the destruction of two female embryos that are currently being preserved at a Beverly Hills, California, fertility clinic.

For her part, the Colombian-born actress is said to want no part of destroying the embryos, yet has not agreed to relinquish her portion of custody regarding the embryos. The pair reportedly entered into a written agreement that prevents unilateral action by either party. In other words, neither the actress nor her former boyfriend can make decisions regarding the embryos without also first obtaining the other party's consent. Essentially this is a child custody case involving unborn children.

Arizona couples who have not yet married should know that they still have rights recognized by the state, despite the absence of wedding rings and marriage certificates. Unmarried couples are free to enter into domestic partnership agreements. These mutually formed agreements can specify the division of property between both parties. They can also clarify matters with regards to the rights and responsibilities towards any children involved.

A family law attorney experienced in Arizona laws can help unmarried couples memorialize their agreements in the form of legally recognized documents. Powers of attorneys, domestic partnership agreements, wills and advance health care directives are all examples of things that can eliminate or minimize many of the obstacles that unmarried Arizona couples sometimes encounter.

Source: USA Today, "Sofia Vergara, ex spar over embryos," Maria Puente, April. 21, 2015

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