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Family Law Issue Sees Custodial Issue Come to the Forefront

Family Law Issue Sees Custodial Issue Come to the Forefront

Arizona is a no-fault state when it comes to family law and divorce. When children are involved, the court takes a good, strong look at what is best for the kids and then makes a determination on custody and support based on the evidence.

In family law, there are cases in the system that garner attention because they are so unusual, and this is one of them.

A famous Hollywood talk show host, Sherri Shepherd, is asking a judge to set aside a contract she and her soon-to-be ex-husband signed in order to establish a relationship with a surrogate mother. She and her husband had decided that they wanted another child before they filed divorce papers in May.

She alleges that her husband knew he didn't want to live with her or stay married to her before the decision to hire a surrogate was made and that he intended to ask for full custody and child support after the baby was born.

It may seem cold to be so analytical about a human life, but Ms. Shepherd is making her case in court.

She states that her eggs were not used in the in-vitro fertilization but that her husband's sperm was. Therefore, the baby is not related to her in any way. She is petitioning to ensure that she doesn't have to pay child support.

They have both filed for divorce is different states, which complicates the situation even further. He filed in California, and she filed in New Jersey. New Jersey doesn't recognize agreements with surrogates, while California leans more to protecting the contract that was signed with the birth mother.

Usually the way it usually works is whoever filed the divorce papers first will get the first hearing in the state they filed in.

One expert said that the parents may end up providing support for this child even if she ends up in a foster home. Since Ms. Shepherd is the major breadwinner, she may have to pay the lion's share.

If you have a family law matter, whether it is child support, custody or divorce, you may the advice of an experienced family law attorney before moving forward with any decisions.

Source: Fox News, "Can Sherri Shepherd walk away from unborn surrogate child?" Hollie McKay, Jul. 22, 2014

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