Having a child is a life-changing experience, and when a family grows it is typically cause for celebration. However, some couples are unable to conceive a child of their own, and surrogacy has become one of the most popular options for couples facing biological issues with fertility, as well as same-sex couples throughout the country. If you and your partner are considering surrogacy, this process is incredibly complex and highly regulated in California, but it is also tremendously rewarding.
The team at Cianci Law, PC provides comprehensive and compassionate legal counsel for a wide range of family law cases in the Aliso Viejo area, including surrogacy cases. This process entails a great deal of legal proceedings, paperwork, and other formalities that would be difficult to complete unassisted. Attorney Melissa Cianci is a certified family law specialist and the team at Cianci Law, PC has the resources and experience necessary to handle the most complex family law cases. Whether you are a hopeful parent beginning their search for a surrogate or a surrogate mother who wants legal protection for your contribution to another family, we can provide the legal representation you need for each step of this journey.
Surrogacy is legal in California but highly regulated. There are specific rules for intended parents as well as surrogate mothers. Many people approach the topic of surrogacy thinking they can navigate the process without legal counsel, especially if their chosen surrogate is a relative or friend of their family. However, state law requires a surrogacy attorney to advise the intended parents and the surrogate mother in order for their surrogacy agreement to be valid and lawful.
The California Family Code requires legal counsel to play a role in the development of a surrogacy agreement. This is intended to protect the interests of all parties involved and to ensure all parties’ obligations in the process are clearly defined and their rights preserved. Any surrogacy case in Aliso Viejo will require a substantial amount of paperwork and contract drafting, and working with the right attorney not only streamlines the process but is also required by law.
Many people in Aliso Viejo and surrounding communities pursue surrogacy for many reasons, including:
Whether you are unsure if surrogacy is the right option for your family or you are convinced this is the way to grow your family, an Aliso Viejo surrogacy attorney can answer any questions you may have about the process and help ensure this is the right option for your family.
When you have an experienced Aliso Viejo surrogacy attorney advising you throughout your case, you will be prepared to address each step of the process with confidence. Your attorney can provide knowledge and guidance, so you fully understand the various steps of the process, the timeframes involved, and the state’s requirements for surrogacy. When it comes to drafting surrogacy contracts, your legal representative will ensure all contracts drafted are legally enforceable and accomplish their intended purposes.
Your Aliso Viejo surrogacy attorney can also handle paperwork completion and contract drafting for you. Surrogacy requires an extensive amount of paperwork and documentation under California family law, and any mistakes can lead to significant legal issues later. Surrogacy will typically involve drafting contracts between the intended parents, surrogate mother, egg and/or sperm donors, and other parties. Your attorney can ensure all such contracts in your case are legally enforceable and the protections you need for the surrogacy process are in place.
Even if everything in your surrogacy case appears to be moving smoothly at the beginning, there is always the chance for complications and disputes to arise before, during, and after pregnancy. Whenever children are involved in any legal case, it can cause emotional tensions to flare very quickly. When you have an Aliso Viejo surrogacy attorney representing you, you will be prepared to address any such problems that arise throughout your case.
It is important to remember that the legal issues involved in surrogacy must be resolved before any steps are taken to start the surrogate pregnancy. Some intended parents struggle with infertility and may require an egg or sperm donation. Before any steps are taken toward fertilization and starting the pregnancy, there must be a legally enforceable surrogacy agreement that applies to all parties involved in the process.
Your Aliso Viejo surrogacy attorney can help navigate the preliminary legal issues of your surrogacy case. This may include coordination with an intended surrogate and early drafts of your agreement; they can also assist you with ensuring your chosen surrogate is a proper match. If you require an egg and/or sperm donation, your attorney can also assist with coordination of this aspect of the process.
California law regulates who may be a surrogate mother in the state:
In many cases, a surrogate mother’s medical expenses will be covered by the intended parents, but there are specific rules they will need to follow in terms of maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy. Before any steps are taken toward starting the pregnancy, the surrogate mother and the intended parents must have a formal surrogacy agreement in place and all parties must sign on willingly with complete information regarding their rights and responsibilities.
When most people think of surrogacy they imagine the excitement and anticipation during the pregnancy, but they do not realize all the steps that must be completed before the pregnancy can begin. State law requires the surrogacy agreement to be finalized and signed by all parties involved before fertilization. Your Aliso Viejo surrogacy attorney can play a vital role in completing your agreement.
First, your attorney can help determine whether surrogacy is the truly correct choice for you and your family. Surrogacy is incredibly complex and often very expensive, and your attorney can help you understand the full extent of the financial implications you face for the process. Once you have confirmed that this is the route you wish to take to grow your family, your attorney can then assist you in finding a match, if necessary. Surrogacy agencies throughout the state regularly connect hopeful parents with surrogate mothers willing to carry children for others. If you have already chosen a surrogate from your family or a friend willing to complete the process for you, your attorney can then facilitate the drafting of your surrogacy agreement.
The surrogacy agreement will carefully outline all the legal issues the case involves. This includes the rights and responsibilities of the surrogate mother and those of the intended parents. For example, you will likely wish to attend all the surrogate mother’s medical appointments so you can track the baby’s development. The agreement will outline the terms for such issues and provide complete explanations for resolving any disputes that might arise.
The surrogacy agreement will also include complete terms and conditions regarding the financial side of surrogacy. If you are an intended parent, you should prepare to pay for all the surrogate mother’s medical expenses, and surrogates are typically paid sizeable fees to account for the tremendous physical strain that pregnancy imposes and their commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy.
Developing a surrogacy agreement in Aliso Viejo is likely to be more complex than you may initially realize, but the effort required to create this agreement will be well worth the investment. An experienced attorney can make this process easier, helping you address various issues that must be considered when drafting a surrogacy agreement. First and foremost, this contract must be completed before any fertility-related steps are taken. Your attorney can help draft a pre-birth order that establishes parentage before the child is born and address any issues related to egg and/or sperm donation.
This contract must include complete information for the intended parents and surrogate mother. It must also clearly stipulate how genetic material will be donated and what type of fertilization will be used to start the pregnancy. Even when intended parents know their chosen surrogate personally, each party should still have separate legal representation. The intended parent’s legal advocate will coordinate with the surrogate mother’s representative to ensure cohesive and mutually agreeable terms for their surrogacy agreement.
Another major facet of the surrogacy agreement is compensation for the surrogate. On average, surrogate mothers in the state receive about $50,000 in compensation along with complete medical expense coverage before, during, and for a limited time after their surrogate pregnancy. This is a variable number, and your attorney can ensure that all terms and conditions related to surrogate compensation are fair and reasonable.
After you complete your surrogacy agreement you might think that the next phase is simply to track the pregnancy and wait the arrival of the baby. However, there is always a chance for unforeseen complications to arise, including legal disputes between the surrogate mother and the intended parents. Your Aliso Viejo surrogacy attorney can be invaluable for the help they can provide in resolving any such issues you encounter.
Most of these disputes pertain to breach of contract. For example, the intended parents have the right to expect the surrogate mother to follow certain restrictions during pregnancy to maximize the chances of delivering a healthy baby. The mother may be required to refrain from smoking, alcohol consumption, potentially dangerous physical activity, and they may need to follow other conditions stipulated in the contract. If the surrogate mother violates any such terms in a manner that negatively impacts the pregnancy, this can lead to a breach of contract dispute.
Conversely, the intended parents must be prepared to hold up their end of the contract in good faith. This includes meeting all financial obligations and assuming parental responsibility for the child after birth. It is possible for any party involved in the surrogacy agreement to breach the agreement in various ways, and your attorney can be crucial for resolving such issues.
The team at Cianci Law, PC has years of professional experience handling all types of complex family law cases, including surrogacy. This type of case is inherently emotional for everyone involved and any surrogacy case can raise difficult questions that the average person will not be able to answer on their own. When you choose Cianci Law, PC to represent you in a surrogacy case, you can expect comprehensive legal counsel from the initial stages of drafting your agreement all the way through the finalization of the pregnancy.
If you encounter any unexpected legal issues during any stage of the surrogacy process, your legal advocate will be readily available to address these problems for you. When you hire Cianci Law, PC to handle your surrogacy case you are investing in decades of professional experience in family law. We can carefully review all the legal implications of surrogacy and guide you through the contract drafting process. If any problems arise, we can respond quickly and decisively with your interests first in mind at all times.
It’s vital to find legal counsel you can trust as soon as possible if you are interested in surrogacy as an option to grow your family. If you are ready to learn how an experienced Aliso Viejo surrogacy attorney can help with the legal implications of your situation, contact Cianci Law, PC today to schedule your consultation with our team.
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