Divorces that involve child custody and child support can often be contentious and difficult. When two spouses cannot agree on a parenting plan, visitation schedules, or other issues, the case will come before the court and the resulting hearings can be stressful and costly. This is especially true when one parent is accusing the other of being unfit for parenting. In some cases, a parent may try to claim unfitness or make other arguments to try to get primary custody of the child so that he or she does not have to pay child support.
Generally speaking, child support is determined under the law by a specific formula based on each parent’s income and expenses. Under the law, a legal parent has the responsibility to financially support his or her child whether or not he or she has physical custody of the child. Due to the Florida child support formula, many support determinations are fairly straightforward and difficult to challenge. However, a recent case involving a television personality demonstrates how these cases can still be very complex.
Challenging Parental Responsibility for a Surrogate Child
Several news outlets reported a court ruling involving former host of The View Sherri Shepherd, her ex-husband, and a child born from a surrogate mother. While they were married, reports indicate that Shepherd and her husband contracted with another woman to have a child via surrogacy using her husband’s sperm and a donated egg. Unfortunately, the marriage was over before the pregnancy was and they filed for divorce.
In the divorce, Shepherd attempted to challenge her parental responsibilities to the child. She was not present at the child’s birth and did not allow her name on the certificate of birth since she stated she was in no way the biological parent of the child since the egg was donated. She also stated she only agreed to seek a surrogacy because her husband wanted it. She sought no custody or visitation and claimed she should not have to pay child support to her ex-husband.
In the maternity suit brought by the ex-husband, a court recently ruled that the surrogacy contract is valid and makes Shepherd the legal parent of the child, which means her name must be listed on the birth certificate and she is responsible for paying child support to her ex-husband who is raising the child full-time. The court also ruled she must pay alimony.
The above case is an example of how complex some child custody and child support cases can be. Whether a child is conceived to both parents, adopted, or conceived via surrogacy, there are still issues of parental rights and responsibilities to be addressed in any divorce that involves children.
Contact a Qualified Child Custody Attorney in Boca Raton
Whether a child custody and child support case is relatively simple or complex, it is still important to have an experienced family law attorney handling your case. At the law office of Alan R. Burton in Boca Raton, we have helped many individuals with custody and child support matters, so please call 954-220-1660 for a free consultation.