Can I Still Get a Divorce if My Wife Is Pregnant in Texas?

By Beverly Bird

Although divorce and pregnancy might seem like a contradiction in terms, the events do sometimes occur simultaneously. If you live in Texas and your wife is pregnant, the question isn't if you can get a divorce, but when. Texas courts are very reluctant to end your marriage when a baby is on the way.

Although divorce and pregnancy might seem like a contradiction in terms, the events do sometimes occur simultaneously. If you live in Texas and your wife is pregnant, the question isn't if you can get a divorce, but when. Texas courts are very reluctant to end your marriage when a baby is on the way.

Filing for Divorce

When you file for divorce, Texas wants to know if your wife is expecting a baby. The state's statutory petition for divorce asks if she's pregnant. If she is, the petition also asks you to clarify whether you're the father. If you're not, or you aren't sure, it can complicate your divorce a great deal. If your wife conceives after you've filed for divorce, speak with a lawyer to find out if you must amend your petition.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Waiting Period

If you know you're the father of your wife's child, it will delay the proceedings, but it won't stop them. Texas courts will wait until the baby is born to grant your divorce. The state has a waiting period for divorce in any event, even when an unborn child isn't a factor. Texas won't grant a divorce until two months have passed from the date you file your petition, unless domestic violence is an issue. Therefore, if your wife's pregnancy is seven months along, waiting until the baby arrives shouldn't have much of an effect. If you've reached an agreement on all issues, including the new baby, your divorce is uncontested and you can finalize it 61 days later or as soon afterward as the baby is born. If your divorce is contested – you and your wife can't agree on all aspects of support, property division and custody – the new baby probably won't affect the situation much in this case either. A contested divorce typically lasts longer than the average pregnancy.

Paternity Issues

If you don't believe you're the baby's father, the situation becomes much more complex. You'll have to file additional documents with the court before you can get a divorce. You can sign and file a denial of paternity with the court, but it won't do much good unless the baby's biological father is also willing to sign an acknowledgment of paternity. If he won't do this, you'll have to force a paternity test. Typically, you must first ask the court to order the biological father to cooperate with the test. Then you'll have to ask the court to adjudicate parentage according to the results. You can do this as part of your divorce proceedings, and the court will address the issue of the child's father and name him in your final decree.

Child Support

If you can’t get a divorce until after the baby is born, Texas law presumes you're the baby's father because you were married to your wife at the time of the birth. Therefore, even if the child isn't yours, you're obligated to pay child support unless and until you prove you're not the father. If you strongly believe you're not, and if your wife is insisting you are, you can petition the court during your divorce proceedings to order a paternity test to measure the genetic match between you and the baby. This might be an option if your wife won't say who the father is, but speak with a lawyer first to make sure it's appropriate in your case.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Can a Married Woman Get a Divorce if She's Pregnant by Another Man?

References

Related articles

Colorado Law on Divorcing While Pregnant

Divorce is among the most stressful experiences people can face and pregnancy can make the divorce process even more difficult. In Colorado, couples may divorce while the woman is pregnant and this pregnancy can affect the divorce process. Divorcing couples should note that divorcing prior to the birth of the child will neither relieve either parent of child support obligations nor prevent either parent from asserting their visitation or custody rights. If you and your spouse disagree about custody and child support, or there is a question about the child's paternity, your interests may be best represented by a family law attorney.

Divorced Couples and the Presumed Father Laws of North Carolina

Many children born during a marriage are the biological children of the husband and wife, but this isn’t always true. On the other hand, it would be disruptive to family life if children born to a husband and wife weren’t presumed to be their biological children. Consequently, North Carolina has laws that presume a husband is the father of his wife’s children. During a divorce, this can give the father rights to custody and visitation and may require him to pay child support.

Laws on False Paternity

DNA testing is increasingly common and accurate, increasing many people's awareness that the purported father of a child is not always the child's biological father. Legal paternity is the recognition by the government that a man is a child's father. False paternity occurs when a man is inaccurately represented as the child's father, which may be due to an inadvertent error or deliberate misrepresentation. Paternity laws are similar in each state, but each state has minor variations, so consult local laws before pursuing a paternity action.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Can the Wife Be Pregnant if Filing for Divorce in Indiana?

If you want a divorce and you find out your wife is pregnant, you might think it will derail the entire proceedings. ...

How to Handle a Divorce While Pregnant

When you’re pregnant and divorcing, the effect can be emotionally devastating. If you decide you’re going ...

Divorce Laws During Pregnancy in Missouri

You might think that breaking up is the furthest thing from spouses' minds when they're expecting a baby. In fact, ...

Can a Husband Force the Assumed Father to Take a Paternity Test?

Marriage creates legal paternity for children born during its course. If a woman becomes pregnant by a man other than ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED