Alaska courts issued their second custody order regarding Bristol Palin's children today. Ms. Palin, the daughter of former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, was ordered to exercise shared custody of her daughter, Sailor Grace with her Medal of Honor recipient former fiancé, Dakota Meyer. Earlier this year, a similar order was issued regarding Palin's older son Tripp, which granted the child's father, Levi Johnson, shared custody of the child. Although some people exalt this decision as a "loss" for Palin, who had previously exercised full or primary legal and physical custody of her children, this decision is all too common across the county as states increasingly favor shared physical custody.
Family law lawyers are used to battling over custody of children to a point that some of the most extreme cases almost become typical. However, family law and custody is reaching into a new frontier as reproductive technology develops and changes further expanding the definition of children and ultimately the purview of the custody attorney. Leaving the personhood debate aside as it is a more appropriate conversation for our legislators, as reproductive technology expands, family law lawyers and litigants are forced to ask tough questions about whether the division of eggs, sperm and embryos is an appropriate subject for the custody trial or if it's more aptly an issue of property distribution (which complicates the issue for unmarried couples who don't have pending equitable distribution trials).