How to Handle a Divorce While Pregnant

By Beverly Bird

When you’re pregnant and divorcing, the effect can be emotionally devastating. If you decide you’re going to move forward with the divorce, you’ll face added stress at a time when your hormones already have your emotions a little rocky. You can get through, but it might require some proactive effort.

When you’re pregnant and divorcing, the effect can be emotionally devastating. If you decide you’re going to move forward with the divorce, you’ll face added stress at a time when your hormones already have your emotions a little rocky. You can get through, but it might require some proactive effort.

Step 1

Determine the laws in your state regarding pregnancy. Your situation might delay your divorce proceedings or stop them entirely. Florida will not allow you to file if you’re pregnant; you must wait until after your baby is born. Other states, such as Missouri, Ohio, Arizona, Texas and Arkansas, won’t finalize your divorce until after you deliver.

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Step 2

Talk with your spouse to learn his intentions regarding the baby. If you deliver the baby before your divorce is final, your spouse is legally your baby’s father. If you deliver after your divorce is final, this may not be the case, depending on your state’s laws. The timing of your divorce might have long-term ramifications on your spouse's parental rights and responsibilities.

Step 3

Come to an agreement about child support and visitation now rather than later. If you don’t incorporate such terms into your divorce decree, you’ll have to go back to court later to get an order providing for them. That could be costly both financially and emotionally. Most states restrict visitation with newborns, so visitation might not be much of an issue in the short-term, but it could be later. You’ll also probably want financial assistance from your baby’s father to help pay for the baby's needs.

Step 4

Establish a safety net for emotional support if your spouse does not want to be involved with your pregnancy, especially if this is your first child. Line up a childbirth coach and join a single parents' support group. If you’re not retaining the marital home, consider moving in with your family for a while until your baby comes and you feel ready to tackle parenthood on your own. If you are keeping the home, explore the idea of taking in a roommate, possibly another single mother, so you can help each other out.

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

References

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Baby Visitation Rights

When parents divorce, if the court does not award primary physical custody of the child to one parent that parent will almost certainly have the right to visitation with the child. This rule is virtually absolute, except in cases of documented domestic abuse or if other circumstances make a parent unfit. If your child is still a baby, however, special considerations apply. This does not mean you cannot have visitation, but your parenting plan must accommodate the particular needs of an infant.

Ideas for Sharing Custody

A shared parenting plan post-divorce or after parents break up might be the kindest gift they can give their children, according to “Parents” magazine. The custody laws in all states, which stress that children should have frequent and loving contact with both parents, are in line with this same principle. “Parents” magazine indicates that children who enjoy this contact after their parents part ways are better adjusted and have fewer socialization, school and behavioral problems. But shared custody requires the dedication of both parents to make it work.

Who Picks Up & Drops Off a Child in a Divorce?

Courts really don't want to take control of every minute aspect of your life, even when you divorce and have kids. Judges prefer that you come up with your own parenting plan, which might include what parent will drop off the children and who will pick them up for visitation. Sometimes, however, parents just can't agree, so the court will get involved, making a ruling based on your family's unique circumstances and the best interests of the children.

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