Sherri Shepherd (right) with co-host Raven-Symone on ABC’s “The View,” lost a precedent setting maternity suit.
Photo: ABC/Lou Rocco
SAN DIEGO, March 29, 2016 – The headline isn’t a mistake. Actress Sherri Shepherd, best known for co-hosting the daytime talk show “The View,” lost her final appeal to avoid paying child support to her ex-husband for a son born via a surrogate mother. A Pennsylvania state supreme court judge refused to hear Shepherd’s appeal of a lower court ruling, saying it had no standing to block enforcement of the agreement.
The result means Shepherd is on the hook to pay $4,100 a month in child support to Lamar Sally, her ex-husband, who has custody of his now year-old son, LJ. She is also paying spousal support to Sally. Once again, the legal system is scrambling to keep up with the new realities of reproductive science and modern medicine.
Shepherd met Sally, a screenwriter, in 2010. They got married a year later. They wanted to have children immediately, but Shepherd ran into conception problems even after trying fertility treatments. A surrogate mother in Pennsylvania carried a child to term created with a donor egg and Sally’s sperm, making him the biological as well as the legal father. The location for the surrogacy was chosen deliberately by Shepherd’s attorney because the state’s laws met Shepherd’s requirements deeming her and her husband as the legal parents of the baby born to the surrogate.
Shepherd and Sally entered a legal agreement with an agency who selected the egg donor. They then found the surrogate mother and signed another legal agreement with her, making it clear she would have no legal relationship to the child. Shepherd and Sally agreed “to accept custody and legal parentage of any Child born pursuant to this Agreement.” Shepherd and Sally paid the surrogate $100,000.
Everything proceeded as planned. The surrogate became pregnant in November 2013. Shepherd and Sally moved to a big new house in New Jersey to make room for their growing family. Then Shepherd balked over signing paperwork for a court order regarding the birth certificate to name her and Sally as the birth mother and father. It turned out her brief marriage to Sally was already falling apart. The surrogate was now eight months pregnant.
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