Sherri Shepherd, former talk show host on the View, split with her second husband, Lamar Sally, while they were expecting the birth of their child via surrogate. The child has been born and a legal battle continues over the rights of the newborn child. Sally has reported that Shepherd agreed to the surrogacy using his sperm and a donor egg after it was determined that Shepherd did not have viable eggs.
The issue is financial responsibility over the baby, who has been with Sally since birth. According to Sally, Shepherd has never even seen the baby and it has been reported that she no longer wants to be a mother to this child. One has to wonder if Shepherd’s position is an attempt to avoid having to pay a large amount of child support. It has been reported that Shepherd claims that Sally coerced her into entered the surrogate agreement. Another interesting twist to the story is that Sally filed for divorce in California while Shepherd filed for divorce in New Jersey. New Jersey does not typically recognize surrogacy agreements making her New Jersey filing an attempt to circumvent the contract. Legal experts have indicated that California will most likely take jurisdiction over the case since Sally filed first.
As a general rule, whomever filed his or her case first will win on which state court will hear the matter. It is believed that “despite the fact that she did not carry the child and the egg is not hers, that the California courts will hold her liable for child support because she signed a contract and there is no doubt that the court will find the payment of support is in the child’s best interest,” California-based divorce and family law attorney Jeffrey Hoffer said, adding that such a case is a rare. “You do not get to make babies by contract or otherwise and then get to walk away from your obligations.” Hoffer also noted that the child could end up in the foster care system if social services were to get involved, but if the parents have the means to pay for support, they will be required to do so for a long time. “This is a child, not a piece of property,” Hoffer continued. “And if Lamar wanted to use a baby to get support that would have been a stupid thing to do because the responsibility of raising a child vastly outweighs the amount of money he’ll receive in return.” Leo Terrell of CleartheCourt.com said a divorce court will rule that both husband and wife will have responsibility in taking care of the surrogate child, and given that Sherri is the biggest earner, she will most likely have to foot the child support bills.