Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Custody dispute: Sherri Shepherd rejects legal obligation re baby

Massachusetts couples who are considering using alternative methods of having children will need to consider the potential legal issues that may arise in the future. The infamous case of the comedienne and ex-host of The View, Sherri Shepherd, and her former husband, Lamar Sally, is a case in point. The former couple chose to use a surrogate mother to carry a child for them. This ongoing battle involves a child support and custody dispute with a twist -- Shepherd denies any biological connection to the baby.

A court ruled that Sherri Shepherd is responsible for a monthly child support payment of $4,100 to her ex-husband for the care of the child that was born to a surrogate mother. Shepherd appealed the ruling and also asked the court to remove her name from the child's birth certificate. She claimed that the child that was born from her ex-husband's sperm and a surrogate mother is not her blood relative.

Shepherd claimed to have been coerced into agreeing to the surrogate process and asserted that, as a result, she should have no legal responsibilities for the child. The child at the center of the dispute was reportedly born with G6PD, a potentially fatal health deficiency. Apparently, the child's initial records did not show Shepherd to be the mother. Medical costs at that time were reportedly the responsibility of the surrogate mother.

Although this case is playing out in another state, Massachusetts couples and those who offer surrogacy services may all be wise to consult with separate attorneys prior to making such arrangements. Experienced family law attorneys can ensure the rights of their individual clients are upheld. Such a professional can also ensure that legal agreements are drafted in a manner that will serve the best interests of his or her client. Being proactive in utilizing the available legal assistance may avoid a bitter custody dispute in the future.

Source: perezhilton.com, "Sherri Shepherd's Child Support Lawsuit Could Go To The Supreme Court -- As The Surrogacy Battle Is The First Of Its Kind!", Oct. 6, 2015

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