In any action or proceeding involving a dispute between the birth mother and (i) the genetic father, (ii) the genetic mother, (iii) both the genetic father and genetic mother, or (iv) the parent or parents of the genetic father or genetic mother, regarding parental rights, status or obligations with respect to a child born pursuant to a surrogate parenting contract:
1. the court shall not consider the birth mother's participation in a surrogate parenting contract as adverse to her parental rights, status, or obligations; and
2. the court, having regard to the circumstances of the case and of the respective parties including the parties' relative ability to pay such fees and expenses, in its discretion and in the interests of justice, may award to either party reasonable and actual counsel fees and legal expenses incurred in connection with such action or proceeding. Such award may be made in the order or judgment by which the particular action or proceeding is finally determined, or by one or more orders from time to time before the final order or judgment, or by both such order or orders and the final order or judgment; provided, however, that in any dispute involving a birth mother who has executed a valid surrender or consent to the adoption, nothing in this section shall empower a court to make any award that it would not otherwise be empowered to direct.
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