Sherrie Shepherd’s Case and Branch Family Law
One of the most common concerns when people come into my office when children are involved is child support. The parent who has the primary residence wants to ensure that they will get the maximum amount for child support and the parent that has to pay child support wants to make sure they are paying the minimum.
A Pennsylvania court just ruled that Sherrie Shepherd, an actress, has to pay child support for her child that was born through surrogacy before her divorce was final. This reiterates that all parents, male or female are responsible for their children and must pay support.
In a time, where a mother or father has the ability to be awarded custody, it is only fair to hold both genders accountable. Mothers often feel they shouldn’t have to pay for child support because they are the mom. Fathers often feel they shouldn’t have to pay for child support because they don’t get to see their kids as often. Child support is gender-neutral and is not contingent on possession and access.
The Sherrie Shepherd ruling brings up lots of questions about child support. I often have people ask me if they still have to pay child support if the children are adopted. The answer is yes. If you and/or your spouse adopt a child, then you are responsible to support them if you divorce, just as you are financially responsible for them if you stay married.
Parents use all kind of excuses to attempt to justify not paying child support or to pay less than child support guidelines. In Texas, guidelines start at 20% of your employed net income for 1 child. Employed net income is calculated using tax charts and deducting this from your gross income. Employed net income is not your take home pay. Courts will not use your take home pay to calculate child support.
Child support calculations are very cut and dry. If you receive money from different sources, then more than likely it will count as income. Courts will not take your bills and other expenses into effect when it comes to calculating child support.
In the day and age when there is no personal responsibility taken by many, the courts often see non-custodial parents (the ones who have to pay child support) try to get out of their obligation as a parent.
I was appalled by Sherri Shepherd’s decision to have nothing to do with her surrogate child because she was divorcing her husband. She then took the position that she shouldn’t have to pay child support. Shepherd and her husband made a conscious decision, some would say more conscious since the process of surrogacy is so intense, to bring a child into this world together. You can’t undo this decision or decide not to provide for the child just because you are divorcing or separating from the other parent.
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