Los Angeles, CA- The divorce between former “View” host Sherri Shepherd and Lamar Sally is a prime example of how children can be put in the middle of a bitter, ugly battle and call into question—who has financial responsibility for a child born out of surrogacy?
Aside from untangling their finances, many couples are faced with the issue of child custody and support. While this issue is never cut and dry, it can become a very complex issue when it comes to child surrogacy. The divorce attorneys at USA Attorneys closely watch issues like this one so they can better serve the clients they represent.
As a married couple, Sally and Shepherd decided to have a child through a surrogate, but now Shepherd wants nothing to do with the unborn child and, according to reports, she is refusing to pay child support. TMZ has reported that Lamar Sally is gearing up for a legal fight should Shepherd try to pull out of the surrogate contract the couple signed while they were still together.
Shepherd wants to wash her hands of parental responsibility of the unborn child, and refuses to pay child support since she believes her husband tricked her into agreeing to surrogacy knowing he was planning to file for divorce. The child was conceived using Sally’s sperm, and eggs from another donor so Shepherd has no biological connection to the child.
“Sherri doesn’t want anything to do with the child and refuses to pay any child support,” a source connected to the situation told FOX411. The source also said Shepherd is not “budging” on the issue and feels “just” in her actions.
When Sally filed for divorce in late May, he requested custody of the child couple’s daughter due to be born in late July. Sally filed for divorce in California where child surrogacy contracts are honored.
In her counter-claim, Shepherd didn’t ask for custody and requested the prenuptial the couple signed be honored, which means Sally gets $60, 000 and that’s all. She filed for divorce in New Jersey, possibly as a legal defense since the state doesn’t honor surrogacy contracts.
A legal analyst who spoke with Fox News believes the surrogacy and support hearings will take place in California since Sally filed his divorce documents first. If that’s the case, Shepherd could be forced to pay child support because she is the higher-earner, making nearly $1 million last year compared to Sally’s $30,000 in unemployment income.
The worst case scenario is that the child is abandoned by Sally and Shepherd and becomes a ward of the state. In that case—let’s hope it doesn’t come to that—Shepherd could still be on the hook for support of the child even if she becomes a ward of the state.
Divorce is between two adults but children are often thrust into the middle. When child custody and support is an issue, it is crucial the divorcing parties consult with a divorce attorney to determine what type of custody arrangement is possible and see their clients get the financial support they need.