Pregnant and Done: Divorcing When a Child Is Due
Even though it seems counterintuitive, there are often reasons why couples decide to divorce while the wife is pregnant. When this happens, the pregnancy can influence aspects of the divorce that might otherwise be more predictable. If you find yourself in this situation, please contact the Dallas divorce lawyers at Goranson Bain to begin strategizing the best way to prepare for your future and the future of your child.
The first question most people have concerns whether they can actually get divorced when the wife is pregnant in Texas. The simple answer is yes. The more realistic answer is yes, but it might take a lot longer than you initially hoped or expected and will likely involve additional steps to finalize. Texas divorce courts are not particularly inclined to grant a quick divorce to a couple when the woman is expecting a child for a variety of reasons.
Waiting to Get Divorced
The amount of time a divorce can take in Texas will vary depending on the totality of the couple’s situation. Even if you and your spouse agree about everything — who takes what property, where the children you’ve already had will live and how you’ll share visitation or what amount of child support one parent will pay —the divorce process takes no less than 60 days to be finalized.
Naturally, a contested divorce, where one spouse doesn’t want to get divorced or the spouses can’t agree to the terms of the divorce, takes a little longer. In fact, it can take longer than the average pregnancy in some cases, especially if the marriage was laden with a lot of conflict and the spouses are prone to argue.
The concern of the courts, however, is that the divorce allows for the needs of all members of the divorcing family to be met without unnecessary modifications.
In Texas, if a child is born to a woman who is not married, the biological father is not automatically granted paternity. Paternity is, however, automatically granted to the husband if the parties are married. This means if you’re a husband filing for divorce and you believe your wife’s child is also yours, you may want to wait for the child to be born into wedlock so that you are automatically assumed to be the father.
If the child is not the husband’s, this may inspire him to seek an aggressive course of action in the divorce. It may also inspire the wife to similarly seek a fast divorce while also establishing paternity for the rightful father in a separate action.
Work closely with your divorce lawyer so that you are able to help direct the outcome you desire as much as possible. This is particularly important in matters of paternity.
If there is no question that the child in question is the husband’s, the other reason the court may delay divorce until after the child’s birth is child support. Determining child support is based on income and can only be established once a child is actually born to ensure there are no immediate modifications needing court involvement; so it makes sense to wait until the child is born and then follow the guidelines based on income at the time. While some spouses are able to figure this out reliably close to a due date, the court often prefers to wait.
For help with pregnancy and divorce, please contact our offices right away.
This post was written by Aimee M. Pingenot.
“While many of my cases are litigated, my training in collaborative law ensures that every effort is taken to reach a resolution in the most cost-effective and clear manner possible.” – Aimee Pingenot