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Court takes one more step in Shepherd’s surrogacy case

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, then you may have read our piece concerning talk-show host Sherri Shepherd who, over the last year, has found herself facing some rather contentious litigation. Although we only outlined Shepherd’s custody battle with her first ex-husband over their son, this isn’t the only litigation the former View host has had to contend with.

As some of our San Francisco readers may have heard last year, Shepherd became embroiled in a unique family law issue concerning her now ex-husband Lamar Sally and their then unborn child who was being carried by a surrogate mother. Because of the complexity of the case, the courts have had to tread lightly in order to make sure that they too are following the letter of the law and are awarding custody and child support to the right parents.

Last month, as some here in California may have heard, a Pennsylvania judge finally ruled on the issue, naming Shepherd as the legal mother despite the fact that she had a change of heart during the pregnancy and no longer wanted to be considered the child’s legal mother. The judge’s decision means that not only will Shepherd be responsible for paying child support, she may also have to pay back WIC assistance and health insurance that was provided by the California government.

A case like Shepherd’s presents a unique legal situation to the courts because it asks the question: can a non-biological woman opt out of a surrogate pregnancy during the gestational period? This issue is a mixture of contract law and family law, and one that unfortunately does not come with an easy answer. It’s for this reason that we hope our San Francisco readers will learn from Shepherd’s case and get a lawyer’s help if a similar situation happens to you.

Source: People Magazine, “Inside Sherri Shepherd’s Surrogacy Ruling: What Happens Next,” Emily Strohm and Diane Herbst, April 22, 2015