Pennsylvania residents may be most familiar with Sherri Shepherd for her role as one of the many women on ABC’s “The View”. She has faced legal challenges following her divorce from Lamar Sally. Prior to their marital situation deteriorating, Shepherd and Sally had entered into a contract to have a baby through a surrogate mother. The egg for the pregnancy came from a donor, and the sperm was provided by Sally. The pregnancy was in progress by the time the couple divorced, and the surrogacy contract could not be voided.
The contract indicated that the birth certificate would list the two parties as the parents. Shepherd was ordered to make child support payments, and Sally has custody of the boy. Shepherd attempted to have her name removed from the birth certificate and resisted paying support, but a judge upheld her role as the child’s legal mother in April 2015. Although Shepherd appealed, the original decision was upheld at the appellate level and at the state’s Supreme Court. This leaves her with no additional legal avenues in the matter.
Unusual parental situations can be challenging when a divorce occurs. Issues in which questions of parentage exist might lead to challenges about legal responsibility. However, it may be more difficult to avoid responsibility for child support if an individual has acknowledged their role as a parent. Legal parentage might be established through avenues such as formal adoption or paternity testing.
Child support terms could be negotiated during divorce proceedings. However, a situation in which there is significant conflict might require a judge’s involvement. Family law attorneys will let their clients know that the factors affecting support obligations could include the amount of time to be spent with each parent, the incomes of the parents, the standard of living to which a child is accustomed and state guidelines for computing the amount of support to be paid.