Surrogacy Issues During a Divorce


The use of surrogates is growing due to the fact that people are marrying later in life and are thus more likely to struggle with fertility issues. But Pasadena family law attorneys caution that the divorce of the intended parents can present a difficult situation.

Lamar Sally recently filed for a legal separation from wife Sherri Shepherd in a Los Angeles court. The couple had been married less than three years, having tied the knot in an August 2011 ceremony at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago.

Sally listed April 16 as their date of separation and cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split. Shepherd is a comedian/actress and one of the hosts of the daytime talk show The View. Sally is a TV writer.

Sally and Shepherd's separation is made more complex by the fact that the couple has an unborn child on the way. The baby boy, to be named Lamar Sally Jr., is due July 28. Sally and Shepherd used a surrogate for the pregnancy. Sally is seeking primary legal and physical custody of the baby, but asks that Shepherd be granted visitation rights.

Legally, a surrogate has no responsibility for the child. The intended parents are supposed to work out a custody arrangement amongst themselves, just as they would with a child born via traditional means.

However, this doesn’t mean that parents are always willing to accept responsibility for the unborn children. Last year, surrogate Susan Ring was left caring for twins after their biological parents filed for divorce and neither parent wanted custody of the children. She didn’t want to see the babies turned over to social services, so she petitioned the court to become the first gestational surrogate mother in California to be named a legal parent to children who were not biologically hers.

California is considered a surrogacy-friendly state, but working with an experienced attorney is highly recommended if you are going through a divorce while expecting a child via surrogacy.

How Can We Help?

Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at if you are in need of legal representation during your divorce.Our Pasadena divorce law firm has extensive experience advocating for the needs of parents and their children.