Surrogacy agreement could complicate talk show host’s divorce

When it comes to getting a heads up about the divorce process, some people find personal stories incredibly helpful. Whether these stories come courtesy of family and friends or from celebrities in the tabloids, though every case is different, sometimes hearing about someone else’s plight can affirm that you are not the only one who has struggled with the legal process.

Take for example the case of talk-show host Sherri Shepherd. Some of our more frequent readers may remember one of our May posts in which we talked about the complex child custody issues she faced with her own divorce. Now, as reports seem to indicate, Shepherd could face an even more complicated family law issue that may leave the courts divided.

As some here in Massachusetts may have already heard, the unborn child of Shepherd and soon-to-be ex-husband Lamar Sally has become the most recent source of contention for the couple. Back in May, it looked as if Shepherd was going to seek custody of the child who was conceived through her husband’s sperm and the egg of the surrogate. But now, it looks like Shepherd may not seek custody and no longer wishes to have any parental rights or legal responsibility to the child.

The reason for this change, according to some sources, is that Shepherd does not consider herself the child’s parent and instead feels that the surrogacy was a “set up” by Sally to get child support. But because the couple signed a contract with the surrogate, she may not be able to waive her parental rights so easily.

Further complicating the issue is the fact that Shepherd and Sally both filed for divorce in different states, which do have the same laws for surrogate pregnancies and child custody issues. It’s possible, as was hinted by one source, that establishing parentage could differ in each state, which could leave the courts divided. In the end, a higher court may be needed in order to reach a resolution.

Though this case does exhibit a rather unique situation that might not be relatable for some our Worcester County readers, it does showcase the complexity of some family law issues. It may also highlight the importance of legal representation, especially considering how difficult this particular issue would be to resolve on one’s own.

Source: Madam Noire, “Shut It Down: Sherri Shepherd Says She’s Not Paying Child Support For Surrogate Child,” Toya Sharee, July 5, 2014