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In vitro plays role in custody separation of fraternal twins

In our Columbus Divorce Law Blog, we recently wrote about in vitro fertilization and how courts might interpret the parental rights of donors in child custody cases. Donor rights are not the only factor that might complicate child custody conversations involving artificial insemination.

The marital dissolution between celebrity wedding planner David Tutera and his spouse Ryan Jurica shows a unique example of how in vitro fertilization was considered in one state.

The same-sex couple entered into a civil union in Vermont in 2003, a few years prior to the state’s recognition of same-sex marriage. During the 10-year relationship, the pair decided to have children through the help of a surrogate. Prior to the birth of the children, the couple moved and decided to file for divorce in California.

The twins share the same egg donor, but both of the fathers’ sperm was used to fertilize the two eggs. When the children were born, it was determined that the daughter was Tutera’s biological child, while Jurica was the biological father of the male twin.

The court took these biological roots into consideration when determining the custody agreement between the pair. The court awarded sole custody of each child to their respective biological parent -- a decision that results in the fraternal twins living approximately 3,000 miles apart.

In an interview with Barbara Walters, Tutera said that the couple’s eventual desire is to nurture a relationship between the two siblings, but that the relationship will have to wait. Unsurprisingly, the accusations of sex addiction have caused strife between the spouses. The wedding planner reported his plans to focus on his own life and the individual care of his daughter first.

In some cases, a court may determine that what is in the best interests of one child may not be ideal for another child. An experienced family law attorney in Ohio will ensure that all relevant factors are considered in the determination of a parenting plan.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “David Tutera’s twins separated during split with Ryan Jurica,” Nardine Saad, Sept. 13, 2013

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