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Sherri Shepherd reportedly seeks to be absolved of parentage rights to unborn child

In divorce cases where children are involved, child custody matters must be considered and decided upon. In the best of cases, divorcing parents are able to come to a mutual resolution and agreement about who a child will live with, how a child will split his or her time between parents. In a worst-case child custody scenario, divorcing parents are embroiled in conflict and both request primary physical and legal custody of a shared child.

The divorce and child custody case involving well-known comedian and talk show host Sherri Shepherd is an example of how complex and contentious child custody matters can become. After three years of marriage, Shepherd's second husband, Lamar Sally, recently filed for divorce citing "irreconcilable differences" on his divorce petition. Sally is also seeking to win both primarily physical and legal custody of the couple's unborn child, a boy, who will soon be born via a surrogate. A move that Shepherd contends is aimed to rob her of millions in alimony and child support payments. 

Based upon recent action taken by Shepherd, it appears as though she not only doesn't want primary physical or legal custody of the unborn child, but she essentially wants nothing to do with the child. While Shepherd's decision to legally absolve herself of parentage rights to the unborn child may seem odd, the baby was conceived using Sally's sperm and an anonymous donor's egg. The child, therefore, has no biological relation to Shepherd who already has primary custody of a nine-year-old son from her first marriage.

Prior to marrying, Shepherd and Sally signed a prenuptial agreement which stipulates that Sally receive a lump sum cash payout of $60,000 should the couple divorce within five years of marrying. Sally, however, has requested that a judge deem the prenup invalid on the basis of alleged "fraud" on Shepherd's part. If a judge deems the prenuptial agreement invalid, Shepherd, who is estimated to have a net worth of $10 million, would likely be required to pay Sally hefty sums of both spousal and child support.

While unique, this case illustrates how complicated child custody matters can become. Tennessee moms or dads who are facing legal matters related to child custody would be wise to seek the advice and assistance of a divorce attorney.

Source: New York Post, "Unborn child faces uncertain fate in Sherri Shepherd’s divorce war," Andrea Peyser, July 14, 2014

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