Surrogacy Attorneys – What to Know If You Need One
Surrogacy attorneys play a crucial role in handling financial compensation, child custody, and a variety of other issues that can arise during your journey.
Additionally, surrogacy lawyers ensure that the contract will follow all applicable state laws because there have been disputes in the past.
It doesn’t happen as much nowadays as it did when surrogacy arrangements were relatively new, but an attorney is still necessary for the sake of prudence.
They are sometimes required by state law too!
Either way, the general idea is that bringing an attorney on board will protect everyone’s rights, including the unborn child’s.
Here's what to know if you believe you might need a lawyer to give you peace of mind before you enter into a surrogacy arrangement.
What does a surrogacy attorney do?
A surrogacy attorney will draw up the legally binding contract between surrogates and intended parents in coordination with the surrogacy agency if you decide to take that route.
While it's possible to make up a contract alone, but it's absolutely not advisable. The risk is that you'll omit vital requirements that may invalidate the entire agreement. The need to file pre-parentage orders before a court of law is a prime example of what can go wrong if you don't consult with a lawyer first.
Without a doubt, the last thing anyone wants is for a custody battle to ruin the whole experience if parentage isn't clear!
U.S. states are pretty straightforward regarding surrogacy, so the contract must be specific and complete to meet legal requirements. As such, these types of lawyers may charge a premium for their services if you opt for a private attorney aside from those who already work with your agency of choice.
Indeed, this "shortcut" to excellent legal representation is why people benefit from an agency's involvement from the beginning.
Why might I need an attorney for my surrogacy journey?
Let's say that you choose an international surrogate, which is legal in certain states, but what happens if the surrogate in the other country decides to keep the baby?
It's rare, but it has happened before.
That's why having a surrogacy attorney is vital when the surrogacy arrangement has those nuances to consider. You may reside in a surrogate-friendly state like California that affords international surrogacy the same protections as domestic surrogacy. Yet, you shouldn't count on that kind of flexibility in other states.
Thankfully, an attorney can help explain the complex legalities behind family law because some of them aren't apparent to those who are trying surrogacy for the first time. You might not know that California doesn't require pre-birth orders to determine the child's legal parents, or you may not know that other states bar compensated surrogacy altogether.
The legal stipulations vary from state to state, so a surrogacy lawyer will explain what you need to do to ensure the surrogacy contract is legal and binding.
How can I find a surrogacy lawyer if I need one?
It’s not too hard to find a lawyer who handles surrogacies as long as you reside in a state where surrogacy is legal. Some intended parents opt to retain their own lawyer, but as we touched upon briefly, the best surrogate agencies already work with law firms that specialize in this area.
A state may require separate lawyers for both parties to ensure no conflict of interest exists whatsoever, making the matter more complex. The idea is that neither the surrogate nor the intended parents can tilt the contract's terms in their favor if a personal relationship already exists. It's all about being fair and keeping the goal in mind: delivering a healthy baby for a couple who can't conceive on their own for whatever reason.
If you're not sure about the legalities in your state, our surrogacy agency team will happily point you in the right direction!
How much do surrogacy attorneys cost?
First and foremost, you need to ensure that the surrogate attorney you choose specializes in family law. These types of attorneys aren’t exactly cheap, but the rates they charge are understandable given the circumstances.
State laws on surrogacy are straightforward, but some aren’t very comprehensive! There are gray areas to watch out for, such as when you want to use a surrogate from a country that has no surrogacy laws at all.
Furthermore, a surrogate's representation will handle all legal legwork if you have to file paperwork with the state and appear in court as well. They'll also set up the escrow services for the financial component or handle negotiations with the surrogate.
While prices vary from firm-to-firm, but as a rule of thumb, an experienced surrogacy attorney will cost between $5,000-$15,000.
Surrogacy lawyers have an intricate, understanding of parentage and custody laws that determine whether the surrogacy contract is acceptable for all parties.
We're a boutique surrogate agency specializing in quickly matching intended parents around the world with our fully-vetted, exceptional surrogates.
We help individuals and couples, regardless of race or sexual orientation, build their families through the miracle of surrogacy.
Each of our team members is either a former intended parent or an experienced surrogate herself. We also have first-hand knowledge of what it takes to have an incredible, successful surrogate journey.
Have questions or want to speak with an experienced surrogate directly? Contact us today!