Child Custody Child Support Family Law Modification to Family Court Orders

Sherri Shepherd’s Child Support Drama Continues

It appears that Sherri Shepherd’s child support drama is never ending. In the most recent drama, the former View star is slamming her ex Lamar Sally following his demands for more child support

Sherri Shepherd’s Child Support Drama Continues

Shepherd, 49, filed for divorce from ex Sally just a few weeks before their son Lamar Jr. was born. The child was born via surrogate, with a donor egg and Sally’s sperm after previous attempts at in vitro had failed. Prior to the divorce, the couple was excited to be parents together.

When Shepherd filed for divorce, she refused to take part in raising the child. Following a contentious legal battle, a judge ruled Shepherd would need to pay Sally $4,100 a month in child support.

This past December, Sally went back to the judge to ask for an increase of that child support, claiming that the child has a medical condition that requires more money.  Sally also requested that Shepherd pay his $75,000 legal fees.

In recently obtained court documents, Shepherd explained she did not feel a California judge had the legal right to increase the amount she already pays for Lamar Sally. Jr.

“The court dismissed this action after finding that this court lacks jurisdiction over Respondent and the issue of modifying a child support order issued in New Jersey, which is continuing exclusive jurisdiction,” the documents state.

Child Support

Children, Sports, and the Increasing Number of Brain Injuries

It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot, especially in divorce cases where children are involved, but it’s not always necessarily defined. Child support is a monthly payment that parents pay to help cover the costs associated with raising a child, such as education, health care, and after-school activity costs. Just as every child is different, the amount that needs to be paid is different, and will be based on the child’s needs, in addition to the ability of the parent to pay, in addition to some set legal guidelines.

Typically, the custodial parent – the parent who cares for the child most of the time – receives the child support payments.  And the non-custodial parent – the parent that spends less parenting time – typically makes the payments. It is assumed that because the custodial parent is in legal charge most of the time, that they are already directly spending money on the child. A court is also able to order both parents to pay child support.

In cases where one parent makes more money than the other, such as in the Renner-Pacheco case, it makes sense that while the two share joint legal and physical custody, Renner will need to pay child support – his income is higher than Pacheco’s.

Usually, child support is paid until the child turns 18, though there are some exceptions. Exceptions include: the child marries, joins the military, or becomes self-supporting. Other times, the support may continue until the child turns 19 if the child is still in high school and lives with a parent. Support can also be extended past the age of 19 if parents agree, or if the child is unable to become self-supporting due to a disability.

Child Support Guidelines in California

While each case will be considered separately and individually, the payment amount a parent must pay is based on California’s child support guidelines.

The guidelines follow a mathematical formula and are based on a number of factors, which we will discuss. You can calculate a rough amount by using California’s Guidelines Child Support Calculator. A court presumes that the amount given by the California’s Guidelines Child Support Calculator is appropriate, but because there are so many additional factors that can weigh into a child support decision, that amount can be unfair. Because of this, it’s advised that you work with a family law attorney that can help you get a fair amount.

In cases with special circumstances, where parents have different time-sharing arrangements than the typical, child support decisions can be difficult to determine. Examples of these special circumstances include: when the parents have equal time-sharing, but one parent has a much lower or higher percentage of income; where the child has special medical needs. In cases like these, a court will need to weigh all these special factors.

Parents are also able to pay more, if it is agreed, and also agree for one spouse to pay less. Regardless of the decision, a court will need to approve the final amount. It’s important to note that a court will always take the child’s best interest into account. This factor will always play into the decision regarding the amount of support payments, so if a couple decides to pay less, then the parents will also need to be able to prove the child’s needs will be met. Paying less support is not an option for parents who have applied for or receive public assistance. Instead, a parent who receives public assistance may agree to support payments that are at or above the amount provided by the guidelines. Additionally,  the local child support services agency must also agree to the lesser amount.

Calculating Child Support Payments


To calculate what a court will want you to pay in child support, you’ll first need both parents’ net disposable income. This is the difference between gross income and what counts as deductions for child support purposes. You can either consult the California Guideline Child Support Calculator User Guide, or work with a family law attorney to determine what can be deducted.

Gross income is income from the following: salaries, commissions, unemployment, spousal support, and social security benefits. You might even need to include lottery winnings, depending on the amount. You are able to exclude child and spousal support payments actually paid and money from public assistance programs.

After determining gross income, deduct state and federal income taxes, mandatory union dues, and health insurance premiums, among other things. You can either consult the California Guideline Child Support Calculator User Guide, or work with a family law attorney to determine what can be deducted.

You’ll also need to know the following:

  • number of children who need support
  • custody (time-share) arrangement
  • both parents’ tax liabilities
  • whether a parent is already supporting children from another relationship
  • child’s health insurance expenses
  • both parents’ mandatory retirement contributions and other job-related expenses, and
  • all other relevant costs (health care, day care, travel, etc)

Remember that a court will require either one or both parents to contribute to the child’s health care and child care. A court also has the discretion to require  additional payment for the child’s education or special needs, as well as for a parent’s travel expenses for visiting the child.

Remember that after you have calculated your child support payment, that this is just an estimate until a court reviews it and approves it. A family law attorney is a great way to ease this process, as it can be overwhelming to calculate.

You Must Pay Child Support

Every parent that is ordered to pay child support, must do so. A parent that avoids paying by refusing to work or working less very rarely gets away with it. A court can “impute” income. This means that the court will look at factors like employment history, education, and training and come up with an amount of income that a parent should be earning.

Modifications to the Amount of Child Support

Even if a child support payment has been agreed to, it can be modified. This is usually only granted if there has been a significant change in financial or time-share circumstances.

Such circumstances include: job loss, increase in income, or a shift in how much parents are spending with the child. Other reasons include: when a parent has another child with a different partner or when a parent has an extended illness or goes to jail.

When a modification request is made, the court will consider both parents’ current financial situations and time-share. Sometimes when parent’s income has decreased, that parent’s child support payment goes up due to the time-share factor. Child support payments tend to increase when a parent’s percentage of time-share decreases. A court will need to recalculate time-share amounts in addition to the changes in income.

A Family Law Attorney

But when it comes to the actual legal process of a divorce and determining child support and payment, you’ll want to work with a skilled family law attorney. There are a number of things that a family law attorney will be able to advise you on, including: child support, spousal support, marital property division, and other things. Working with a skilled attorney can help ensure you get a fair case.  For advice on divorce, child custody determinations, setting up a co-parenting agreement, dividing marital property, and spousal support you need the expert law firm of Divorce Law LA. Schedule a consultation today.

Divorce Law LA, Esq.

Divorce Law LA

33 S. Catalina Ave. Ste. 202

Pasadena, Ca. 91106

(626) 478-3550

Child Custody Child Support Divorce Family Law

Sherri Shepherd’s Child Support Ruling

A Pennsylvania court of appeals has ruled to uphold Sherri Shepherd’s child support ruling. The television personality and actress will be legally responsible for the son born to a surrogate that her and her ex-husband hired.

Sherri Shepherd’s Child Support Ruling

Last week a Pennsylvania appeals court ruled to uphold the surrogacy contract that Sherri Shepherd signed in 2014. Shepherd had made a motion to have the contract voided as well as have her name removed from the child’s birth certificate. But since a judge upheld the initial ruling, Shepherd will continue to pay $4,100 a month in child support to ex-husband Lamar Sally. Sally is a writer and substitute teacher who is raising the couple’s 1-year-old son in Los Angeles. The boy was born in August 2014.

“She doesn’t want to be part of his life. It’s all good,” said Sally following the ruling. “I’m going to be parent enough for the both of us.”

Shepherd and Sally Divorce

The couple’s divorce became especially contentious when Shepherd challenged the surrogacy contract partway through the pregnancy after deciding to split from her husband. Sally then publicly accused the comedienne of refusing to have anything to do with the baby.

“I don’t understand why Sherri can say I duped her into this or that she is not responsible for this child,” said Sally in an interview with The Daily Mail. “It’s mind-boggling to me.”

The couple had paid over $105,000 for a suburban Philadelphia surrogate to carry the child. The child was conceived through a procedure that combined Sally’s sperm and a donor egg. Both Sally and Shepherd attended the surrogate’s medical appointments until the couple decided to end their marriage during the second trimester.



Shepherd alleged that Sally defrauded her when they were in the process of entering the surrogate agreement. Reportedly, Sally was already planning to file for divorce, but he wanted her to commit to paying child support prior to filing. Even more complicated is the fact that the two filed for divorce in two separate states: he in California, and her in New Jersey – a state that doesn’t typically recognize surrogacy agreements.

It was thought that if Shepherd was able to corroborate the claims of fraud that she would be able to prove she had been duped into signing the surrogate contract. This latest ruling proves that was not possible.

Birth Certificate

The original birth certificate listed the surrogate as the mother, instead of Shepherd. When Sally settled in California with the child, California authorities were prompted to seek child support from the surrogate, according to Sally’s lawyer, Tiffany Palmer.

Shepherd will now be listed as the legal mother on the birth certificate, a decision that the surrogacy agency has praised.

“Surrogates don’t want to feel that someone could want a baby and then just back out. The surrogate is not the mother,” said Melissa B. Brisman, who owns Reproductive Possibilities in Montvale, N.J.

Palmer went on to say that Pennsylvania courts had never ruled on the validity of surrogacy contracts. And some states have refused to uphold surrogacy contacts in the past.

“It’s a tremendous relief to many people,” said Palmer.

“(Shepherd) does not dispute that she freely entered into the gestational carrier contract,” the Superior Court ruling said. “Baby S. would not have been born but for (her) actions and express agreement to be the child’s legal mother.”

Child Support

Many divorcing couples will need to decide on child support. Child support is an amount of money that a court requires a parent, or both parents, to pay each month in order to support a child’s, or children’s living expenses. While you are free to determine child support on your own, many couple’s find this a difficult decision to make, and often one that they cannot see eye to eye on. Often times this leads to a trial, during which a judge will determine a child support court order. This is often part of the child custody case. While you might not want to enter into a child custody case, it’s important to remember that if you do, the court can provide you with certain legal rights that will legally ensure your time with your children.

A Note About Child Custody

Children, Sports, and the Increasing Number of Brain Injuries

Getting a child custody order can legally give you the right to make decisions regarding your child, as well as allow you the legal right to have your child live with you. Without a child custody order, you might not legally have the ability to do these things, even if you are the parent that takes care of the child on a daily basis. Filing for child custody is not without risks though. If you decide to file, there’s a chance the other parent will request these rights. At that point it will be up to the judge to decide.

When a judge decides, he or she typically rules in favor of what’s in the best interest of the child. Many decisions go into the awarding of child custody. And a court will sit down and evaluate the case objectively, with a focus on the facts that are presenting. These facts include: the history of each parent’s relationship with the child, any evidence of abuse or neglect, a detailed understanding of the child’s health, safety, education, and general welfare. A court will also take a look at the current status quo arrangement. From this outsiders perspective, a judge will be able to rule based on the child’s best interest. 

Once custody is awarded, it is often then decided who and how much a parent will pay for child support.

Child Support Payments

After you have received a child support  court order, the other parent is legally required to start making child support payments to you. The court order you receive will include the start date for the child support payments. The payments will be paid monthly, and will be taken out of the other parent’s paycheck.

Wage Assignment and Garnishment

Every child support case where child support is awarded, the court will order a wage assignment or wage garnishment be issued and served. This wage assignment requires that the other parent’s employer takes the support payments out of the other parent’s wage.

Local Child Support Agencies

If the local child support agency (LCSA) is not involved in the child support case, both parents are allowed to agree that the child support payments be made in other ways, rather than a wage assignment. This means the wage assignment is “stayed,” or put on hold. Parents are then responsible for working out how the child support payments will be made. But if a LCSA is involved, the LCSA must agree to having the wage assignment “stayed.”  Typically, if a LCSA is involved, the agency will keep the wage assignment in place.

Falling Behind

If you are not able to make your child support payments and you fall behind, you are required to pay interest on the balance due in addition to the amount you owe. A judge is not able to remove this charge, as interest charges are added per the law. Interest charges are added by law, and the judge cannot stop them. Interest rates are as follows: 10 percent per year for child support due on or after January 1, 1983; or 7 percent per year for child support due before January 1, 1983.

Past-Due Child Support

If you owe past-due child support/arrears, your court order/wage assignment/garnishment, will include the full amount of owed monthly child support. This amount over your monthly child support is called a “liquidation amount. It goes to paying off the past-due amount/arrears. This amount goes to paying off your arrears. Even if you are paying this off in installments, interest will still be added to your balance.


Not paying child support means serious consequences.  You can be found to be “in contempt of court” if it is discovered you have the means to pay and are not. This can result in jail time.

Ending Child Support

Typically, court-ordered child support will end when a child turns 18 years old, or if he or she graduates from high school. If an 18-year-old child still lives with parents and is a full-time high school student the support will end when he or she turns 19 or graduates – whichever comes first. Child support also terminates once a child: Marries or registers a domestic partnership, joins the military, is emancipated,  or passes away. If both parents agree, they can decide to no longer support a child.

Working with a Family Law Lawyer

Working with a child custody lawyer might be in your best interest if you decide to pursue a child custody case or child support case. A lawyer will be able to help you decide your best course of action based on your situation. Additionally, it’s important to remember that filing for child custody does not necessarily mean you get child support. But a child custody order does not automatically give you child support.

For advice on child custody or child support, you need the expert law firm of Divorce Law LA. Schedule a consultation today.

Divorce Law LA, Esq.

Divorce Law LA

33 S. Catalina Ave. Ste. 202

Pasadena, Ca. 91106

(626) 478-3550