Any major life change comes with its own challenges. Being pregnant while ending your marriage is uniquely difficult. At the same time you and your spouse are preparing for a new beginning with a baby, your relationship is coming to an end.
Not only is this an emotionally tough position; it has the potential to be a legal challenge as well. Divorcing while pregnant is easier when you understand the law, and this is less overwhelming when you work with an experienced family law attorney.
If you’re getting divorced while pregnant, keep reading to learn the basics of the law, what you may want to consider, and how a family lawyer can help.
How to Handle a Divorce While You’re Pregnant
Do what you can to stay healthy and reduce stress. Depending on the reasons for your divorce and the kind of pregnancy you’re experiencing, you may also be dealing with:
- Financial challenges
- Disagreements about how to raise a baby
- Mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression
- Disagreements about continuing the pregnancy or keeping the baby
- Domestic abuse
- Stressful relationships with your spouse and their family
When you are the one who is pregnant, you may feel especially vulnerable. Try to take comfort in the fact that many expectant mothers have been in this position before you, and the legal system has ways to support you and your family throughout the process.
1. Will Your State Allow Divorcing While Pregnant?
Know that in some states, you cannot get divorced while pregnant. You might be able to file for divorce and separate from your spouse in certain ways, but the official divorce won’t happen until after the baby is born.
States may each have their own reasons for this, but paternity is a significant factor. The courts tend to prefer to wait until the baby is born to decide if things like child support from the father come into play. Even if paternity is not a concern, some states have a specific waiting period when a divorcing couple has children together.
Knowing the answer sooner rather than later means you can prepare accordingly, and also better help any older children through these life transitions.
This is an area where a family law attorney becomes invaluable support. No two divorce cases are exactly the same, and a legal professional can assist you with the red tape and legwork.
2.Track Your Baby’s Development
Keeping track of your baby’s development, as well as how far along you are in your pregnancy, will help you manage the timeline until your divorce is finalized.
If you have pregnancy complications or know that your baby has certain health issues that will continue after birth, those factors can influence how you move forward with legal action. It’s especially important to see your obstetrician and midwife regularly, as they will help you stay aware of the health side of this.
3.Surround Yourself with Support, and Ask for Help
This is sage advice for anyone at any time, but more so if you’re going through one or more life transitions. Our society doesn’t always encourage people to ask for help, and parents too often feel like they have to do everything on their own.
Make a list of what you need. It might be:
- Childcare for older children
- Time off work
- Financial assistance
- Health care
- Prepared meals
- Uninterrupted sleep
- Legal assistance
- House cleaning
- Baby supplies
- Safe shelter
Focus on the most immediate needs, contact public or private resources, and reward yourself for taking care of you.
Divorcing While Pregnant? Hire a Good Lawyer
Now more than ever, you deserve an experienced and compassionate legal professional. If you’re thinking of getting divorced while pregnant, talk to a family law attorney sooner rather than later, even if you haven’t discussed any of this with your spouse.