Articles Posted in Surrogacy

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What rules are there for Father’s Right in NC?”

A Georgia man who hired a surrogate to carry his child for $33,000 may be getting more than he bargained for.

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What rules are there for Father’s Right in NC?”

 

The marriage of television writer Lamar Sally and wife, Sherri Shepherd—late of talk show “The View”—is headed the way of more than half of American matrimonial unions: to divorce. The acrimonious split is heating up, with Sally asking a judge to invalidate a prenuptial agreement and award him spousal support from Shepherd.

Laughing baby Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyThe prenuptial agreement provides for Sally to receive a lump-sum payment of $60,000. Sally called the agreement fraudulent.

It is not the fight over money, however, that makes the Sally-Shepherd split unique.

Shepherd, who is 47, and Sally asked a surrogate to become impregnated using Sally’s sperm through the process of in-vitro fertilization. The surrogate’s own egg was used, and after fertilization, she agreed to carry the unborn child in her womb.

Sally lists the unborn child’s name as Lamar Sally Jr. and says the surrogate’s due date is July 28. He has requested full custody, offering reasonable visitation rights to Shepherd. According to TMZ, Shepherd wants nothing to do with the child and has alleged that Sally decided to divorce her before the unborn child was created, in order to obtain child-support payments from her.

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Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Lawyers and Attorneys in Charlotte Mecklenburg County NC N.C. North Carolina.jpgCNN recently discussed a tragic case involving a fight between biological parents who discovered the child their surrogate was carrying would have a serious health defect and the woman carrying the child. The couple wanted the woman to have an abortion, something the surrogate fought, saying she felt protective over the baby. So protective in fact that she fled to another state that does not recognize surrogacy laws and found an adoptive mother to raise the handicapped child. The parents, who, it turns out, used an egg donor and thus are not both biologically related to the child, filed suit to claim legal rights to the child.

This convoluted tale is not a law school hypothetical, but the real case involving a woman named Crystal Kelley from Connecticut. The case began when a Connecticut couple who already had three children of their own decided they wanted a fourth but discovered the wife would not be able to carry the child. They then selected Kelley as their surrogate and, after using an egg donor, implanted the embryo. Not long after that they learned that the fetus their surrogate was carrying had developmental disabilities. Doctors said the child had a cleft lip and palate, a brain cyst and heart defects. The baby would need to have multiple heart surgeries after birth and was given only a 25% chance of leading a normal life.

The couple, worried about the child’s ultimate quality of life after having several premature children of their own, offered to pay the woman $10,000 to abort the baby. The woman, who initially claimed the procedure went against her religious beliefs, later admitted to demanding $15,000, but since says that was only in a moment of weakness. The couple refused the additional amount and launched a protracted campaign to enforce the surrogacy contract.

The original agreement the surrogate signed said specifically that she would agree to an abortion if the fetus had a severe abnormality. The woman said that she did not want to follow the agreement when confronted with the reality of what she would have to do. She then chose to leave Connecticut for Michigan where state laws disregard surrogacy contacts and where she would be deemed the child’s legal guardian.

Since then Kelley has given birth to a child with even worse medical problems then were expected. The child’s internal organs are in the wrong places, some don’t function properly, her ear is misshapen, she has an abnormally small head and has a brain that failed to completely divide into two hemispheres.

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