Divorce Laws During Pregnancy in Missouri

By Beverly Bird

You might think that breaking up is the furthest thing from spouses' minds when they're expecting a baby. In fact, divorce rears its ugly head during pregnancy with enough frequency that some states – including Missouri – have special laws in place to deal with the situation.

You might think that breaking up is the furthest thing from spouses' minds when they're expecting a baby. In fact, divorce rears its ugly head during pregnancy with enough frequency that some states – including Missouri – have special laws in place to deal with the situation.

The Divorce Petition

The Missouri Revised Statutes require that when you file a petition for divorce, you must divulge whether the wife is pregnant. This doesn't mean you can't file, but only that the court must know a baby is on the way.

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Delay of Proceedings

If you and your spouse are expecting a child, a Missouri court will put your proceedings on hold until the baby is born. Your divorce cannot be finalized until this time. The court will order a paternity test if the husband thinks he is not the father, or order child support and custody terms as part of the divorce if he agrees that he is. If it turns out that someone else is the baby's father, that individual must be added to the divorce lawsuit as a third party.

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

References

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Newborns During Divorce

Newborns aren’t immune to the effects of divorce, according to the University of Missouri. When their parents feel stressed and worried, they pick up on it and may react negatively. “Parents” magazine indicates that when infants go through divorce, they may develop symptoms of irritability and increased emotion. This doesn’t necessarily mean parents must stay together: The child would still sense their stress. However, when separating and negotiating custody, they should make their infant's needs one of their most important considerations.

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.

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 her husband while she's married, the law in most states presumes that her husband is the child's father even if they later divorce. However, the husband can set the record straight -- and do so as part of the divorce proceedings.

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