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Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

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Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Family Law and Modern Technology to Meet in Supreme Court

Sometime next summer, the US Supreme Court will be handing down an important family law decision that interprets a law from the 1930s with regards to modern technology. The technology in question is in vitro fertilization. Since the first in vitro baby in 1978 , in vitro fertilization has become a reliable option for many women or couples hoping to have children. Where the Supreme Court becomes involved is in the interpretation of the Social Security Act of 1935. Should children conceived through in vitro fertilization after the death of their fathers be able to receive Social Security survivor’s benefits?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C., a Tulsa, Oklahoma Social Security disability law firm, discussed the impact of posthumous in vitro babies on Social Security last month. The Supreme Court became involved because of differing rules from federal courts and the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). Federal courts on the two coasts had found that in vitro children conceived after their fathers died should receive the benefits, whereas southern federal courts said they should not.

The SSA’s position looked to family law for an answer. It ruled that if a state permits babies resulting from posthumous  in vitro fertilization to inherit the property of the deceased father in the absence of a will, then such children should be able to able to receive Social Security survivor benefits.

The ruling could have a big impact in Texas, as Texas only permits such children to inherit property if the parent consented to doing so in a legal document such as a prenup. The deceased parent must have acknowledged that his partner would be giving birth after his passing.

There are more than 100 cases like this pending before the SSA. Have you had any legal troubles with family law surrounding in vitro fertilization?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce attorneys

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