The recent child support ruling against Sherri Shepherd, former co-host of The View, may set a new precedent for future divorce and child support cases involving surrogate mothers. Not only was the issue of child support in question, so was the legal parentage based on a contract establishing Shepherd as the intended mother. A Pennsylvania judge ordered Shepherd to pay child support and alimony to her ex-husband, Lamar Sally, for a surrogate child that she claims she did not want.
During the surrogate’s pregnancy, Sherri and Lamar decided to call it quits on their marriage. The surrogate was named “surrogate mother” on the birth certificate since Shepherd denied all rights and responsibilities for the newborn. Lamar Sally, the biological father, took full custody of the baby boy and sought alimony and child support from Shepherd.
While waiting for a decision, Sally applied for California medical assistance for the infant. In California, and in any state, whenever a child receives state benefits, the state automatically files a child support claim against the non-paying parent. In this particular case, California pursued the surrogate since her name was on the birth certificate. As a result, the surrogate disputed paying child support in her home state of Pennsylvania, claiming that Shepherd broke the surrogate contract and did not acknowledge the child. The judge ruled that Sherri Shepherd, the intended parent, is the legal mother and put her name on the birth certificate.
Surrogacy and Divorce
Going forward, this decision can have an impact on future surrogate cases wherein an intended parent, or both, tries to get out of the surrogacy contract. The surrogate’s name should not be listed on the birth certificate and the surrogate mother should not have to take responsibility for a child she did not intend to have herself.
Divorce disputes are complicated and this situation is even more complex because three states are involved. Sherri Shepherd filed for divorce in the state of New Jersey, Lamar Sally filed for divorce in the state of California, and the surrogate’s residence and birthplace of the child is in Pennsylvania.
Each state sets its own criteria for awarding child support. Financial need of the child, income and need of the custodial parent, and the ability of the non-custodial parent to pay child support are some of the determining factors used in divorce and child support settlements.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles Assist Residents of Maryland with Divorce and Child Support Matters
Towson child support lawyers at Huesman, Jones, & Miles, LLC can assist you with any concerns you may have regarding child support and divorce in Maryland. The experienced Towson divorce lawyers represent clients throughout the state of Maryland including Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Towson, Bel Air, Elliott City, Columbia, Westminster and Essex. Huesman, Jones, & Miles, LLC have offices conveniently located in Hunt Valley and East Pikesville. You may call for a free consultation at 443-589-0150 or submit an online inquiry.