Divorce and separation don’t always occur at the most convenient times for families. For example, it was recently reported that Sherri Shepherd, a co-host of The View, is splitting from her husband of almost three years while the couple has a baby on the way through a surrogate.
When an unborn child is part of a divorce or separation case it obviously complicates matters. The fact that this is a surrogate pregnancy also adds a layer of complexity in the divorce of Shepherd and her husband, Lamar Sally.
According to reports, Sally was the first to file for legal separation from Shepherd early this month. Apparently, Sally asked for full legal and physical custody of the unborn baby boy, who is expected to arrive in July. He asked that Shepherd be granted reasonable visitation rights.
Any time an unborn child or very young infant is involved in a child custody matter, the judge presiding over the case has to exercise great care to make sure that the custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child.
At this young of an age, it is important for children to form a bond with both parents. Typically, whether or not a mother is breastfeeding also needs to be taken into consideration, but that likely won’t be an issue in this case as the child was conceived using a surrogate.
One might think that custody of very young children is automatically granted to mothers, but courts are now starting to recognize that fathers, too, play an integral role in babies’ lives, and parent-child bonds are formed right away.
However, fathers who are seeking equal or primary custody of very young children still need the guidance of a family law attorney with experience in fathers’ rights issues.
Please check back later this week for more information on fathers’ rights in Illinois.
Source: People.com, “Sherri Shepherd’s Husband Files for Separation, Seeks Custody of Their Unborn Child,” K.C. Blumm, May 9, 2014