Surrogacy in New Jersey

The View co-host Sherri Shepherd is reportedly getting a divorce from her husband of 3 years, Lamar Sally. Shepherd lives in New Jersey and has filed divorce papers here. Her husband Lamar Sally has reportedly filed for divorce in California.

This is not your typical divorce. Media reports say that Shepherd and her husband are expecting a baby via surrogate this summer. Sally reportedly has asked for sole custody of the unborn child in his California filings, while Shepherd’s divorce papers make no mention of the child at all. This may seem odd, however New Jersey does not have a law that specifically addresses surrogacy. A proposed law called The New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act was vetoed by Governor Christie in 2012, leaving this area of law in flux.

New Jersey courts do recognize and enforce the parentage aspects of gestational surrogacy (in which the surrogate is unrelated to the child, i.e. is not the biological mother) agreements. When a child is conceived through gestational surrogacy in New Jersey, the intended parents must adopt the child to become legal parents. Therefore, Sally and Shepherd are technically not the legal parents of the child being carried by the surrogate until this legal process is completed. A New Jersey court cannot decide custody until Shepherd and Sally are established as the legal parents of the child. Shepherd’s attorneys will likely file for custody as soon as the child is born.

DeTorres & DeGeorge represents men and women in divorce and family law cases in in Tewksbury, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Our skilled attorneys are waiting to handle your case. Schedule a consultation by calling us at 908-284-6005.

Children & Divorce Guide
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