Inside Sherri Shepherd's Bitter Custody Battle


Sherri Shepherd's ex Jeffrey Tarpley filed for an emergency modification of custody over their nine-year-old son last month. ET's Nancy O'Dell offered to sit down with Tarpley and his lawyer Duane Folke to get Tarpley's side of the story, but only Tarpley's attorney showed up, begging the question: Where is Sherri's ex?

"I hoped he'd be here today. He wasn't," Folke said simply. "I don't see him as being irresponsible. I see him as relying on me to carry the burden."

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In court papers filed in April, Tarpley accused The View co-host, 47, of making "poor parenting choices" and neglecting their son Jeffrey Tarpley, Jr., who has special needs. Later, Shepherd defended herself in documents claiming that she believes Tarpley is making up excuses "as part of his attempt to gain more custody and more child support."

"I can understand how people would look at that and be cynical from that standpoint," said Folke. "Whether he sees a dime from her or not, the idea is that he wants to be the primary custodial caretaker of his kid."

Folke adds, "We have a nine-year-old kid who unfortunately can't tie his shoes [and has] issues with his personal hygiene and other things. As a father, [Tarpley] believes he can do a better job."

In addition to the custody battle with Tarpley, Shepherd is also fighting estranged husband Lamar Sally for custody of their unborn child.

Sally is asking for full custody of the baby that is to be born by surrogate on July 28. Folke points out that Sally has a great relationship with Tarpley and will be one of his "key witnesses."

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