Surrogate pregnancies are an area of the law that still has a lot of unknowns. The case of Sherri Shepherd and her ex, Lamar Sally, is proving to be one that sets many new standards for surrogate pregnancies and the care the children of these arrangements need if the parents divorce.
If you recall, Shepherd claims that she was defrauded by Sally because she says that he knew he was going to file for divorce when he persuaded her to agree to a surrogate pregnancy. She claims that he only did this so that she would be on the hook for child support after the divorce.
Here is where the case gets a bit twisted. In 2015, Shepherd was listed as the baby’s mother on the birth certificate after a ruling in Pennsylvania. After that ruling, Sally and Shepherd agreed that New Jersey would have exclusive jurisdiction over the matters of child support. Despite two different legal judgments in which Sally agreed to this, he opted to come to California to try to get his child support for the child increased.
The judge here agreed that California didn’t have jurisdiction and sent the case back to New Jersey. It was noted by Shepherd’s representative that if Sally pushes this case in New Jersey, he might end up getting payments reduced because Shepherd is currently paying $4,100 per month, which is higher than what the law there says she should pay.
Sally says that $4,100 per month isn’t enough to support the child because the boy has a rare blood disorder. Sally’s attorney noted that the reason he wants the case moved to California is because Shepherd currently resides in the state and makes significantly more than she is claiming.
This case is a good example of several points. The first is that determining which court has jurisdiction over a case is important. The second is that each side must be careful about finding out how their petitions might impact them in the future. The third is that it is possible to seek modifications of support orders if there are substantial changes in circumstances. Finally, it is imperative to always be forthcoming about all facts that impact the case.
Source: The Grapevine, “Sherri Shepherd Puts Ex-Husband on Blast Over Child Support Ruling,” Yesha Callahan, Jan. 25, 2017