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With Shepherd-Sally surrogate baby near, no clarity on custody

One of the most unusual celebrity family law disputes of the year hangs in a state of limbo. There's really no way of knowing how the matter is going to play out. While the labels haven't been employed as far as we can tell, it seems the case might well warrant the moniker of the perfect child custody storm, or the mother of all child custody battles.

What we're talking about is the legal wrangling involving former "The View" co-host Sherri Shepherd and her estranged husband, Lamar Sally. Caught in the middle of the matter is a baby being carried by a surrogate. The infant is due to be born any day now and the question of who will have child custody remains unresolved.

Attorneys with experience in Ohio and West Virginia family law will likely attest that child custody matters can represent some of the most challenging issues in a divorce. This case, however, stands apart from most because of all the circumstances involved.

Shepherd and Sally have been married for more than two years. They separated in May. At some point during their marriage, the two signed a contract to have a child by surrogate. The sperm came from Sally, but the egg did not come from Shepherd.

The celebrity TMZ website says Shepherd now wants nothing to do with the baby. She reportedly claims that Sally knew when they signed the contract that he intended to seek a divorce and that he allowed things to go forward as a means of obtaining child support.

As this post is written, word is that Sally is in the process of drafting legal papers to lock Shepherd into their agreement. The Christian Post website says Sally is seeking custody of the baby and wants to grant Shepherd "reasonable" visitation. The report says he also is asking for spousal support and payment of attorneys fees.

Making the case more difficult is the fact that Shepherd reportedly filed for divorce in New Jersey, where surrogate child agreements are said to not be generally recognized. Sally filed in California, which is said to take a more accommodating view of such situations.

How the case is resolved could well depend on which state gets jurisdiction.

Source: The Christian Post, "Sherri Shepherd Divorce Sparks Surrogate Baby Custody Fight; Did 'View' Co-Host Back Out?" Benge Nsenduluka, July 30, 2014

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