When it comes to making important decisions regarding child custody and support arrangements during the divorce process, the relationship between both parents and the child in question is taken into consideration. As a result, an Illinois family law judge will look at everything from paternity to the emotional bond between parent and child. In cases where a couple used a surrogate to carry a baby, determining and/or enforcing parental rights can be challenging.
After marrying in 2011, talk show host Sherri Shepherd and her husband attempted to have a baby together. Ultimately, they entered into an agreement with a surrogate. The husband is the biological father of the baby, who was due in July of this year, but Shepherd does not share a genetic link with the child.
Shepherd and her husband since filed for divorce in different states, and the husband is petitioning for legal custody of the baby. According to Shepherd, her husband planned to divorce her at the time of entering into a contract with a surrogate and anticipated receiving child support from her. She is arguing that she should not be held financially responsible for the baby, and is trying to give up her parental rights.
In cases where a person is not the biological parent of the child at the heart of a custody dispute, that person’s legal obligation to the child may be questioned. An experienced attorney understands the complexities of paternity cases, and can help people navigate the process of determining their rights and options in these kinds of disputes.
Source: Fashion Times, “Sherri Shepherd Gives Up Parental Responsibilities over Unborn Surrogate Son to Avoid Child Support: Report,” Corazone Victorino, July 6, 2014