Florida parents who are going through a divorce may be interested to learn that actor Sherri Shepherd was ordered to pay child support for a son born to a surrogate mother. Although Shepherd and the child have no DNA ties, courts in Pennsylvania deemed her the boy's legal mother in 2015 and ordered her to pay support. Her appeal was denied by both an appellate court in November 2015 and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in early March 2016.
The child was conceived using an egg from a donor and sperm belonging to the actor's now-ex-husband. When Shepherd and the man decided to split, however, the boy had not yet been born to a 23-year-old surrogate mother. Shepherd later attempted to disavow him on the grounds that she wasn't his biological relative and also resisted demands that she contribute to the boy's financial upkeep.
Shepherd and her ex-husband had originally agreed to a contract that stipulated they would be named as parents on the boy's birth certificate. After she attempted to not sign the certificate, the judge who decided she was the legal parent ordered that her name be added and also commanded her to make child support payments until her son's 18th birthday.
Child support orders are often based upon state guidelines. Still, different circumstances, such as a child's age or unique medical requirements, can impact how family courts make their calculations. Parents who wait for the system to determine what they ought to pay may wind up with arrangements that place them under financial strain or fail to account for important factors like career changes. Those who are under an order to pay child support but who have suffered an unexpected financial setback may want to have the assistance of an attorney in petitioning the court for a modification.