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DECEPTION AND IMMORALITY COST STAY-AT-HOME MOM CUSTODY

In my early March, 2010, blog I dealt briefly with the complex legal issues that can arise with assisted reproductive technology, commonly called, “artificial insemination.” The recent case of Wells v. Wells, No. 2001-CA-01813-COA (Decided June 1, 2010), brings some of theses issues to life. Reyna was a nurse and Forrest was a plastic surgeon. During their marriage, they utilized artificial insemination to parent twins. After the birth, Reina stopped working. Later, unbeknownst to Forrest, Reina had herself artificially inseminated with a donor sperm resulting in the birth of a third child. Reina deceived Forrest into believing this was his child until she was about 8 months pregnant. Forrest could not abide by Reina’s deceit and separated. Later, Reina developed a relationship and Forrest sued for adultery. The trial court awarded custody of the twins to Forrest. He found the parties equally suited for custody in every way except moral turpitude which he found favored Forrest. The trial court found that intentionally deceiving Forest about her pregnancy brought “her moral fitness into question.”

The trial court also considered her adultery and found that she exercised poor parental judgment in allowing her boyfriend in the home overnight with the children there (at the time the children were 3). Once again, a woman loses custody of her child because she allows a man to stay overnight in her home with the children present.