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Melissa A. Featherston

Child custody questions surround celebrity divorce

The famous television personality Sherry Shepherd is going through a divorce, which brings a common divorce issue to light: complicated child custody situations. Sherri and her ex-husband legally filed for separation and then divorce in quick succession. Now, her husband is fighting for child custody over a baby that is still in utero, via a surrogate mother. The outcome of this case could set a precedent for some complicated cases, including those in Missouri.

One of the main issues with this particular divorce is that the husband, if he is awarded custody of the unborn child, would be receiving support payments from his famous wife. It is indicated that the couple did sign a prenuptial agreement which would otherwise prevent the husband from sharing in her wealth. Supporters of Ms. Shepherd claim that the man is simply vying for her money, not pursuing custody out of genuine concern for the child.

This case may be particularly complicated because it contradicts the normal gender roles in a divorce proceeding. The man is seeking custody of a child who is not yet born, which likely means that the divorcing couple is facing a long legal battle. Missouri couples also facing complicated divorces should note that child custody battles do not always follow along customary paths and that there are also legal options for pursuing a desired outcome.

Child custody disputes are hard on all parties involved. In many cases, couples may be able to come to a reasonable conclusion through mediation and negotiation. It can be beneficial to remember that there are choices and options in even the most complicated of child custody cases.

Source: The News Tribune, "Is Sherri Shepherd's divorce a wake-up call for women?", Keli Goff, May 20, 2014

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