In cases of abuse, infidelity, or just plain incompatibility, filing for divorce may be your only option. However, if you are pregnant and considering divorce, there are important things to consider before taking that step. Learn more in this article, then contact our divorce lawyers in Arlington, Texas at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson if you need assistance with divorce.
Getting Divorced While Pregnant In Texas
The first thing to know about divorce during pregnancy is that the divorce isn’t finalized until the baby is born. While it may seem strange, this is because the court lacks jurisdiction over a child until it has been born. Without jurisdiction, the court cannot decide and issue orders about the necessary issues of child custody, support, and paternity.
Texas courts cannot finalize a divorce until the above issues are addressed through the divorce case. If the judge did for some reason decide to grant the divorce while you are pregnant, the case would necessarily be reopened once the child is born. Texas courts do not like to do this, and it would require you to wait to finalize the divorce until after the child is born. Some legal experts think the court may not want to address what will happen in the future when the baby’s circumstances are unknown while in utero.
Divorce Stressors Might Affect Your Baby’s Health
There is little doubt that divorce is one of the most stressful things people go through. It is typical for divorcing couples to experience extreme sadness, depression, anger, and anxiety. These emotions can affect the development of the fetus in terms of the gestation period, birth weight, and developmental issues.
If you need to go through a divorce while also going through your pregnancy, talk to your doctor about how to reduce the risks of anxiety, depression, and general stress. In addition, it may help to see a therapist during your pregnancy to keep you in a positive frame of mind.
Paternity Can Be An Issue
If you are pregnant and file for divorce, your spouse is the presumed parent when the baby is born. The reason is that marriage establishes paternity for the child. However, if there are questions about paternity, it may need to be re-established or negotiated as part of the divorce settlement. If you and your spouse had been separated for a long time, this can sometimes involve your new partner “intervening” in the divorce or executing additional documents. Therefore, do not assume that finalizing the divorce de-establishes paternity for your spouse.
You Can Still File For Divorce While Pregnant
Despite potential complications, you can still file for divorce when you are pregnant. The divorce just will not be finalized until you have the baby.
However, there are several advantages to filing for divorce when you are pregnant. The main one is that you can start divorce negotiations now instead of later, and you might even resolve major issues through mediation.
Mediation allows divorcing couples to agree to resolve major issues in the divorce, such as child custody, support, visitation, and division of property. Going to mediation is usually less stressful and expensive than going to court for a divorce, and it allows the parties to reach agreements that a court just couldn’t order.
Another advantage to filing for divorce while pregnant is that the minimum sixty-day waiting period between filing for divorce and your divorce being granted can elapse.
A third advantage, while not legal in nature, is that you wouldn’t be starting the stressful process while also caring for or nursing a newborn. It’s not always easy to meet with attorneys, sit in a mediation, or gather documents while also fighting for a bit of sleep.
Contact Our Divorce Lawyers In Arlington, Texas Today
Getting divorced when you are pregnant can be complicated. But if you are certain it is best for you and your baby to move forward while pregnant, then it is something you should do. The best way to move forward is to enlist the assistance of experienced divorce attorneys. Contact our divorce lawyers in Arlington, Texas, today at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson. Our attorneys represent divorcing clients in Dallas, Frisco, San Antonio, and surrounding communities. Call us at 214-273-2400.