Court Upholds Surrogacy Contract, Orders Actress to Pay Child Support

- Gary E. Williams

Who is legally responsible for a child born through gestational surrogacy when the intended parent changes their mind about parenting the child?

A recent Pennsylvania appeals court ruling upholds the validity of a surrogacy agreement, maintaining the intended parents’ obligation to provide child support.

The Case of Actress Sherri Shepherd

Hollywood TV personality Sherri Shepherd and her husband entered into an agreement for a surrogate to carry a child conceived through a procedure that used a donor egg and her husband’s sperm. Under the agreement, the couple would be acknowledged as the child’s legal parents and assume responsibility for the child.

In the second trimester of the surrogate’s pregnancy, the actress and her husband experienced marital problems and eventually divorced before the child was born. The divorce was a contentious one and along the way, Shepherd changed her mind about sharing responsibility for the child. She asked the court to void the surrogacy contract and to remove her name from the child’s birth documents.

The appeals court upheld the contract, which means that Shepherd must continue to pay child support for the child who is now a year old, in the monthly amount of $4,100.

Florida Law on Child Support

In Florida where courts uphold gestational surrogacy contracts for married couples, the intended parents of a child born through a surrogate are the child’s legal parents upon birth. When pursuing child support for a child born through a surrogate, the action must be directed against the intended parents whose names appear on the child’s birth certificate, not the surrogate.

Divorce can be an emotionally challenging time for all parties, including the children. Parties can be locked in battle not only over custody of children they share but also over payment of child support. 

Monthly child support can ensure a stable and promising future for your children. Determining the amount of child support involves several factors and rules that are complex and confusing to a non-lawyer. It’s important to engage the services of an experienced child support lawyer who truly cares for the welfare of clients and who will work very hard to obtain the best results for you.

In Clearwater, Florida, The Law Firm for Family Law has years of experience, having handled over 1,800 cases involving a wide range of family law issues such as child support. 

Our Firm provides individual attention to our clients, staying by your side throughout the legal process, and working hard to get the results you need. Contact us today at (727) 531-8737 to discuss your particular situation.