chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
June 08, 2021

ABA family law conference to discuss COVID divorce, surrogacy, other topics

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2021 — Leading practitioners and professionals from across the country will discuss important developments for family law lawyers during the 2021 Virtual Spring Conference hosted by the American Bar Association Section of Family Law, June 15-17.

Three days of programming for new and seasoned family law practitioners will include topics such navigating a COVID divorce, solving surrogacy problems and assisted reproductive technology contracts.

2021 Virtual Spring Conference
Sponsored by the ABA Section of Family Law

Tuesday-Thursday, June 15-17


Program highlights include:

“COVID Divorce: Creative Solutions for Valuation and Division of a Business” The majority of a divorcing couple’s wealth may depend on the value of a closely held business. But the economic and political environment pose challenges to accurately valuing the business, putting that wealth at risk or making it hard to divide. A panel of experts will discuss business valuation in the era of COVID, with creative solutions for addressing the uncertainty to protect marital wealth.

Tuesday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. EDT

“When Surrogacy Goes Badly — Turning Lemons into Lemonade” — Surrogacy is a collaborative area of law where parties come together for a common purpose. However, when things go wrong, they can go really wrong. Panelists will talk about navigating issues that can arise from contract interpretation, relationship expectations and the “over-informed gestational carrier.” They’ll also cover how to spot issues before problems arise.

Tuesday, 2:45-4:45 p.m. EDT

“The Right to Parent” — LGBTQ+ parents face extra hurdles in building and protecting their families. A panel will discuss some challenges and complexities, including religious refusals for fertility treatment, parentage recognition domestically (including hostile states) and internationally, protection for families who struggle to afford ART services, disproportionate impacts on families of color and female-headed households, and cultural competency for family building in POC communities.

Tuesday, 5-6 p.m. EDT

“ART Practitioners, We Have a Problem — Examining Problematic Provisions in ART Contracts” This program will examine common contract clauses that can cause problems for clients and the ART professional alike, including discussion about abortion/termination/fetal reduction and other medical decisions during pregnancy; travel; celibacy/monogamy; potential liability for attorneys who fail to properly advise clients; and what contract clauses may not be enforceable and how to prevent drafting a contract that may not live up to the client’s expectations. The panel will also advise on how to utilize your mental health professional to establish realistic expectations for the client, how to discuss contract enforceability with a client and how to advise clients when something they may want may not be possible.

Wednesday, 2:45-4:45 p.m. EDT

“Donor Conceptions: To Know or Not to Know, That is the Question” This session will focus on the issues involving anonymity with sperm, egg and embryo donation today. The panel will address the issues and application of known versus unknown donations in the context of today’s technology-driven world. They will provide mental health, legal, international and agency perspectives as they advise attorneys on how to identify new issues with anonymous versus known donor contracts and craft model language for known donations.

Thursday, 1:30-3:30 p.m. EDT

“Meltdowns, Mix-ups and Other Mishaps in Handling Embryos and Gametes” — Mishaps, mayhem and the unexpected, such as lost, damaged or destroyed embryos or gametes, or gamete mix-ups, can occur in ART matters. A panel will explore what legal resources might be available, including limits of traditional causes of action and basis for damages. Sample language for ART contracts to address such mishaps and mayhem will also be provided.

Thursday, 3:45-4:45 p.m. EDT

A complete agenda can be found online.

This event is free for members of the press. For media credentialing and more information, please contact Priscilla Totten at 202-662-1094 or [email protected].

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement on line. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.