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TV host's child custody dispute begins before baby is born

Of all the issues that come up in Texas divorces, child custody disputes may be the most emotionally charged. All too often, parents unknowingly treat their children like bargaining chips in a play to get the most out of a divorce, regardless of what's best for the child.

The recent news that "The View" host Sherri Shepherd is splitting from her husband may at first look like just another celebrity divorce. However, there is reportedly a very unusual twist in this case. Reportedly, the husband is seeking full custody of the couple's child. The twist: The child has not yet been born.

According to reports, Shepherd's husband of less than three years filed for legal separation, apparently because he has not lived in the couple's home state long enough to satisfy residency requirements. In his request for separation, the husband has reportedly requested full legal and physical custody of a baby boy who is apparently being carried by a surrogate mother. If his full request is granted, Shepherd would have visitation rights, but would not be able to live with the child or make important life decisions for the child.

In this highly unusual case, the husband also reportedly seeks to void the couple's prenuptial agreement on the basis of fraud.

Many Texas parents who go through a divorce are able to agree on a custody arrangement and visitation schedule, and can do so without putting too much stress on their children or too much acrimony between the adults. When the court approves their agreement, it becomes enforceable by law. When parents can't reach an agreement, Texas family law courts make decisions for them based upon the court's interpretation of the best interests of the child.

Texas family law attorneys support their clients' wishes during a child custody dispute. But it's always important for parents to set their anger at each other aside when making child custody decisions. The best interests of the child must always be the standard by which these decisions are made.

Source: LATimes.com, "Sherri Shepherd fires back at Lamar Sally with her own divorce docs," Christie D'Zurilla, May 12, 2014

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