What Is Assisted Reproductive Technology?

If you have considered fertility treatment, you should consult an assisted reproductive technology attorney. Many people use assisted reproductive technology (ART) to conceive and give birth to a child. However, ART has many legal challenges that should be considered. Call Law Offices of Rick D. Banks at (559) 222-4891.


What Is Assisted Reproductive Technology?


ART is defined by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as fertility treatments that involve handling of both sperm and eggs. This includes an array of methods that may help a person have a child, including:


  • Surrogacy – A gestational carrier may be used to carry the embryo of a couple
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection – This involves the injection of a single sperm into an egg. The resulting embryos may be implanted into a uterus or cryogenically frozen.
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF) – This involves the collection of both eggs and sperm, which are then introduced into a culture dish in a laboratory. If fertilization occurs, then the resulting embryos may be implanted in a uterus or preserved for later use.


Other ART methods may include intrauterine insemination (IUI), freezing sperm and eggs, and the use of donor eggs, sperm, or embryos.


Common Legal Issues Involving ART


Because ART can involve more than one couple wanting to conceive, there are many legal issues that can arise. Common challenges include:


  • Disputes over who owns the unused eggs, sperm, or embryos
  • Parental and custody rights for same sex or unmarried partners
  • Child custody issues with a surrogate or donor
  • Contract disputes
  • Negligence claims against fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies


Many states do not have laws specifically addressing ART. Thus, the court must interpret often archaic laws surrounding new age technology. Federal laws do not address family law issues, so only states laws are used to address ART and related disputes.


Get an Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorney to Protect Your Rights


When dealing with ART-related issues, you should speak with an attorney who can guide you through the complex laws. A skilled lawyer can help you:


  • Draft comprehensive surrogacy agreements
  • File a petition for a birth order determining legal parentage
  • Create prenuptial and other contracts regarding sperm, eggs, and embryos
  • Keep you updated on ART laws
  • Provide legal advice regarding ART and your rights


Fertility clinics and agencies will force you to sign contracts, often relieving them of any fault if something goes wrong. You should consult with an attorney before you engage in ART so that you know your rights and understand the process going forward if there is a dispute.


Call an Attorney Today


The Law Offices of Rick D. Banks can help you with assisted reproductive technology and related issues. We have handled ART issues for our clients since the science formed. If you have questions about your rights and what you should do in your specific situation, call us today at (559) 222-4891.


The Use of Witnesses During a Divorce Trial

Divorces can be messy. They often require both spouses to air their dirty laundry in a courtroom. However, sometimes they involve others who have been witness to the incidents in the marriage that led to divorce. A divorce trial witness may come into court and give testimony regarding an array of issues in the divorce. However, the use of a witness during a divorce trial should be carefully undertaken by an attorney who can manage your case. Call Law Offices of Rick D. Banks at (559) 222-4891 today.


Reasons You May have a Divorce Trial Witness


The court will focus on four subjects during trial, all of which may involve a witness:


  • Grounds for divorce
  • Alimony and child support
  • Parenting time and child custody
  • Property division


Grounds for Divorce


You may have a witness to testify on your behalf regarding the grounds for divorce. While many states offer “no fault” divorces, if you are claiming a “fault” divorce, it is your responsibility to prove your spouse did something that warrants a divorce. That may include adultery or abuse. A witness can help you avoid a he-said/she-said situation. Instead of one party against the other, a witness may contribute their third party view of the circumstances that led to the divorce.


Alimony and Child Support


Child support hearings don’t typically require additional witness testimony. Both parents will need to contribute information, such as income and financial data. However, another witness won’t be much help. Most states have child support guidelines that are strictly based on the financial information of both parents.


Alimony, or spousal support, however, is different. There are many factors the court will look at when awarding alimony. The court will consider the spouses’ health, income, and earning potential. It can be helpful to have a witness to validate or contest the assertions being made.


Parenting Time and Child Custody


Many issues involved with child custody and parenting time, or visitation, can be determined by the parents on their own. However, if they must involve the court, a witness can be useful. Parents may make allegations of child abuse or endangerment, which would require proof.


Family members and friends can testify regarding the relationship between children and their parents. Mental health professionals and representatives from social services might interview children and parents and conduct an investigation.


Property Division


Both spouses must present all of their property to the court and it will be divided fairly. Witnesses are not typically required for property division. However, if a spouse is trying to hide property or disposes of it prior to divorce, a witness may be able to shed light on that situation.


Professional appraisals may be required for property; however, that is usually handled outside of court. An appraisal may be brought into court if there is a dispute.


Choosing a Divorce Trial Witness


Some courts do not allow family members to provide a character witness due to perceived biases. However, you may be able to use a friend, colleague, or someone else you know well as a character witness. You should choose someone who has first-hand accounts of your behavior and your spouse’s behavior.


Call a Divorce Lawyer Today


The attorneys at Law Offices of Rick D. Banks have significant experience working with witnesses in divorce trials. Call us today at (559) 222-4891.

Wife’s Rights During Divorce

A wife’s rights in divorce can be enforced by a court. Both spouses have rights during a divorce, but it can be difficult to assert those rights. You shouldn’t let your spouse walk all over you. Instead, reach out to an attorney who can support your rights and make sure you get what you deserve. Call Law Offices of Rick D. Banks at (559) 222-4891.


Wife’s Rights During Separation


Many couples are separated before they legally file for divorce. You have rights that begin during that time period as well. If your husband was the primary breadwinner, you may be able to get spousal support or “pendente lite” financial support. This is a temporary form of support meant to last during the separation prior to divorce.


If your husband moved out of the family home, you may be able to get money for household expenses, such as the mortgage and utilities. Depending on the difference between your incomes, you may be able to get your husband to pay half of the household expenses even if he has moved out.


Your husband cannot sell property while your divorce is pending. The divorce will separate all property fairly, so he cannot dispose of the property that is to be divided.


You have a right to the financial support of your children, even during separation and divorce. The court will likely order temporary support for children while the divorce is pending. Both parents are responsible for the care of their children, and both may have to contribute to support in some way.


What If the Wife Has Nowhere to Go?


You may have avoided divorce simply because you didn’t feel like you could support yourself or you had nowhere to go. However, even a wife with few resources has rights.


A court may order the husband to pay spousal support and/or give the marital home to the wife if the wife has nowhere else to go. You should not leave the home simply because your husband refuses to go or tells you to leave. You have ownership rights to your home as well.


Rights of an Unemployed Wife During Divorce


If you were a homemaker and took care of the children during your marriage, then the court may allow you to continue to be unemployed during divorce. It is rare that the court will order an unemployed wife to find employment while the divorce is still pending.


It is more likely that you will be awarded spousal support, child support, and other support measures that will allow you to continue your normal standard of living.


Your marital estate will be separated during the divorce, which includes all bank accounts, retirement accounts, and other property. You will get a fair share of these resources during the divorce.


Wife’s Right to Alimony


There is no automatic right to alimony in a divorce; however, if your husband was the primary breadwinner in your household and you are not able to continue your lifestyle without support, it will likely be awarded. You must request alimony or the court may not award it. There are many factors that go into whether or not the court awards alimony and how much.


The court will consider awarding alimony for a “reasonable period of time.” This may mean that you will be given time to obtain education or find a job that can support you and your children. If you do not have the same earnings potential as your spouse, then alimony may last until you remarry or no longer need the funds.


Contact a Divorce Attorney Today


We support the wife’s rights in divorce and can guide you through the legal process of making sure you and your children are taken care of before, during, and after divorce. Call Law Offices of Rick D. Banks at (559) 222-4891.

How Mental Illness Can Affect Custody in Divorce

Parents with mental illness and child custody issues are common in family law cases. Mental illness is suffered by many, whether it be anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or another condition. Not only can it lead to divorce, but it can also impact your child custody.


If you have questions about your specific situation in a family law matter, contact Law Offices of Rick D. Banks at (559) 222-4891.


Factors in Determining Child Custody


Mental illness is a factor considered by the court during hearings for child custody and visitation. If a parent is unable to care for their children, the court may not be inclined to award physical or legal custody to that parent or visitation may be limited. However, this should not scare parents who do have mental illness issues. The court will carefully evaluate every situation individually and do what is in the best interests of the child.


Other factors that the court will consider that are related to mental illness include:


  • The ability of each parent to provide food, clothing, and other necessities to the child
  • The ability of each parent to provide love and discipline to the child
  • School and community records
  • The physical health of each parent
  • The relationships between the child and each parent
  • The child’s wishes, if the child is of an age where they can form an opinion
  • History of domestic abuse
  • Wishes of each parent


The court may also consider other factors that it believes are important to the case.


When Mental Health Is an Issue


The court will consider mental illness as it would any other factor when determining child custody and visitation. A final decision will be made based on the severity of diagnosis and confirmed mental illness. In order to do this, the court may need access to a parent’s mental health records and treatment records from their doctors and any facilities in which they have been treated. The court can order you to release these records. If you do not, you may risk losing custody of your child or having limitations put on your visitation rights.


Mental Illness and Physical Custody


Physical custody of a child involves time actually spent with the parent. When a parent has physical custody of a child, they provide for the daily needs of a child, including a home. If a parent is so mentally ill that they cannot provide a safe home for their child, they may not be awarded physical custody.


Mental illness can also result in violent outbursts, abandonment of a child, drug use, and other issues. If these are factors in the child’s life, then the court will likely remove physical custody.


Mental Illness and Legal Custody


Legal custody gives a parent the rights to make decisions about how the child will live their live, including educational, medical, and religious decisions. The court often favors shared legal custody so that both parents influence a child’s life. The court would likely only remove legal custody if a parent is not mentally able to make decisions about their own life as well.


Mental illness can also cause a person to be argumentative. If the parents are unable to come to agreements, then the court may limit one parent’s legal custody.


Call a Child Custody Lawyer for Help


If you are dealing with a difficult situation involving parents with mental illness and child custody issues, you need an attorney to work out the details. Call Law Offices of Rick D. Banks at (559) 222-4891.