In order to start the surrogacy journey after a successful match, you will need a surrogacy lawyer. There is a complicated legal procedure attached to surrogacy that the right fertility lawyer can help you navigate with no additional stress added to your plate.
While you may need to make some concessions, your lawyer should represent your ideas for the pregnancy and regulation of it perfectly. That way, you and your surrogate do not need to argue over the details or let the legal proceedings impact your relationship.
In order to find the right lawyer, you should be aware of what to ask and what to look for before you even sit down with them.
What to Look For
You should look for some specific criteria when researching your fertility lawyer to make sure that they are qualified and reliable. Here are some of those qualifications:
Uses the Right Terms
A fertility lawyer should use terms specifically to refer to their area of expertise. A lawyer in this field will use any of these terms to describe themselves:
Family Formation Law
ART Law or Alternate Reproductive Technology Law
Any of these terms notify you that the lawyer is practiced in fertility law and specializes in the area that you need them for, rather than other practices. Please note: Family Law is not included in this list, as it is a different legal field.
While a lawyer may specialize in Fertility Law, they may have primary experience with adoption or IUI with a donor, rather than surrogacy-specific issues and processes. Because the process is so complicated, you need to make sure that your lawyer has already worked through the process in the past.
Your lawyer should have a license from the ABA (American Bar Association) in your state and/or AAAA (The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorney). This shows that they are both qualified and legally allowed to work on your case. These licenses should be readily available by the attorney upon request. In addition, there is a public directory of AAAA-licensed attorneys available here.
If your surrogacy agency would recommend this lawyer, you can be assured that they have adequate experience in the legal process of surrogacy. As usual, surrogacy agencies work with fertility lawyers every day and keep a list of preferred people to work with based on professionalism and success.
What to Ask
When consulting with your attorney before the process begins, you’ll want to ask questions that illuminate their policies and how they work. This way, you can know whether the lawyer is the right choice for your case.
How Many Surrogacy Cases Have You Worked in the Last Year?
While some fertility attorneys have experience in surrogacy, you will want to make sure that they are up to date on the legal proceedings, especially considering the legal changes made in this past year regarding pregnancy.
While asking this, you should check into their long-term track record with surrogacy, as well. Good surrogacy lawyers are consistently working surrogacy cases, as this process has become more popular in the last ten years.
If you can find a lawyer who is consistently working surrogacy cases, then you can be assured that you will receive the best possible service from them.
What Legal Problems Should I Anticipate?
Depending on what state you are having your surrogacy, you should ask about legal barriers that you may need to anticipate ahead of the birth. For example, if you and your partner want to be on the birth certificate for a surrogacy in Texas, you must be legally married.
A surrogacy lawyer will know about all these stipulations and make sure that you are briefed ahead of time, so that the process goes smoothly.
How Much Does Your Service on a Surrogacy Case Cost?
Usually, Fertility lawyers operate on a flat fee, but sometimes they outsource some of their actions which can tack on an additional cost. Likewise, if the contract needs to be revised at some point, this is the point where you would find out about fees associated with that need.
This question also helps you gauge the value of the service you receive vs. the cost of the service. If an attorney charges exorbitant fees but does not have time to get back to you on more time-sensitive matters, you may not want to work with them.
As with anything, doing a cost-benefit analysis here is very prudent.
Can We Still Work With You if We Live in (State)?
Some attorneys are only licensed in specific states and may be unable to work with your case if it’s being filed outside of their jurisdiction. It’s well worth it to ask at the beginning of your interview whether the attorney can work in the state you plan to file in.
Getting a surrogacy lawyer is overwhelming but not nearly as complicated as it seems. With your own investigative skills and a solid recommendation from an agency like Simple Surrogacy, you can easily find someone in your budget that is experienced with your type of case.
If you are interested in the legal process of Surrogacy, reach out to Simple Surrogacy for more information here.
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