Can You Get Divorce When Pregnant? And Tips To Handle It

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When a relationship starts to affect your physical and mental well-being, you won’t be able to take it anymore. This situation can be more challenging when you are expecting, as it won’t be easy to go through a divorce during pregnancy. Most women are caught in the dilemma of whether to move out and start afresh or stay in a troubled relationship while expecting.

It is better to ask yourself if you want your child to be born in the toxic atmosphere of your home. If you feel divorce is the best way to proceed, it is crucial to know the legalities to safeguard yourself from physical and mental stress during pregnancy.

Keep reading to explore the important aspects of getting a divorce while pregnant; also, learn a few tips for dealing with it.

Can You Get A Divorce When Pregnant?

It depends on the state you live in, as divorce laws vary from state to state. For example, Florida, Missouri, Arkansas, Arizona, and Texas do not finalize a divorce until the child is born and the paternity is established.

Although other states have no laws prohibiting a separation while pregnant, it is up to the judge to finalize the process. This is mainly to determine parentage and child support of the unborn child. Judges may avoid granting a divorce before a child is born to ensure the child and mother receive adequate monetary support until the matter is resolved. It is important to consult an attorney to ensure you understand all local and federal laws while developing an early strategy.

How To File For A Divorce When Pregnant?

A divorce, especially when you are expecting a baby, can be traumatic. Filing for divorce, negotiating a settlement, and abiding by state laws can be a stressful experience. Disputes on child custody and alimony or spousal support are best resolved amicably between both parties, as the court’s intervention takes the power away from you. Here are a few things you should consider if you wish to get a divorce when pregnant.

1. Find a safe place

This is not a necessity in most mutual separations. However, if you are in an abusive relationship and fear harm to you and your child, move out immediately to a safer place. Seek help from a Women’s Crisis Center and file a complaint with the local police.

If you are concerned your spouse is hiding assets, you should avoid discussing divorce with your spouse until you have spoken to an attorney. There are legal options to protect your husband from emptying all bank accounts and manipulating your financial rights.

2. Consult a lawyer regarding state laws

The first thing one needs to do is check whether the state you reside in allows divorce while pregnant. This will help you develop a plan early and not be at a loss. Even if the state does not allow it, the process does take time. With good timing, you could be divorced right after the child is born.

3. Find a good lawyer

A knowledgeable, unbiased counsel can help you understand your rights and the repercussions of the divorce. They could help you plan a clear course of action for custody and monetary benefits.

4. Consider the impact on custody

The laws of some states can be complicated, and the timing of your divorce could impact your spouse’s parental rights. If you and your spouse have mutually agreed to share parental responsibilities and want equal rights to the unborn child, you will need to consult an attorney who can help you proceed accordingly. If you want to raise the child alone, your attorney will help you develop a strategy to be financially independent to determine an accurate child support amount and right to alimony.

5. Plan your finances

While considering a divorce, devise a financial plan for the future as a single parent. You should outline your income versus expenses and create a budget for additional expenditures, such as bills, baby food, and diapers. Also, consider if you would return to a regular job or if your skill-sets allow you to work from home. All this information will help your attorney develop a strategy for alimony and child support.

6. Check your insurance plan

It is likely that you share the same insurance plan as your spouse. When the divorce is finalized, you will automatically lose this benefit. You need to discuss how the debts accrued during the marriage are to be paid. However, the court may order the father to reimburse expenses attributed to prenatal and postnatal care and during the birth of the child.

Tips To Cope With Divorce When Pregnant

Divorce can be an emotional roller-coaster ride. It can be even more difficult if you are pregnant. The sadness and stress, accompanied by hormonal changes and mood swings, can be overwhelming. However, it is imperative you take control of this phase and focus on positive things. The tips below and some proactive measures can help you cope with the stress and look forward to a positive future.

1. Seek emotional support

An emotional support system is extremely important while coping with divorce during pregnancy. The stress, mood swings, and ambiguity about the future can take a toll on your emotional and physical health.

It is believed that an unborn baby is affected by the mother’s moods. Seek the support of a family member or a close friend who can lend a shoulder to cry on. You will need someone to patiently listen to you and ward off negative or destructive thoughts.

2. Seek professional help

You might think you can handle pregnancy and the stress of divorce perfectly well. However, a surge of emotions and activities will soon drain you out. Don’t shy away from seeking professional help.

A lawyer can help you make the right plans for the divorce and keep you informed about your state’s laws. A gynecologist can help keep your baby healthy, a therapist can help you with your emotional uncertainties, and a healthcare team can keep your physical and emotional well-being in control while you deal with everything around you. You may also need professional help with the household chores and postnatal care.

3. Get rid of guilt

A divorce is always difficult, especially when children are involved, even if it is your unborn child. You may consider postponing a divorce thinking your child deserves a normal family, but do not let this guilt sway you.

It is better to raise a child in two separate homes filled with love than in one with constant fights and abuse. A child is adversely affected by the behavior of stressed parents. Remind yourself what is best for everyone.

4. Settle your financial status

Prepare for single parenthood. List your current expenses versus the expected expenses. Create a budget along with a plan to meet your expenditures. Determine your prenatal and childcare expenses, and work out a plan for a comfortable future — it could be with child-support from your spouse, alimony, or by getting back to a full-time job.

5. Determine shared parental rights and responsibilities

It is vital to communicate openly with your ex-spouse to determine shared parental rights and responsibilities. You should discuss and set ground rules for your child’s upbringing, including child custody, daily routine, pediatrician and daycare decisions, visitation rights, and grandparents’ role should all be clearly set to avoid future conflicts.

6. Work out a co-parenting plan

Although you may hate your ex-spouse, it is important to keep your child’s upbringing in mind. Developing a mutually agreed co-parenting plan can give your child as much stability as possible. Co-parenting rules should focus on your child’s needs and interests. If you can’t seem to come to a consensus on this, an attorney and a mediator can assist in this issue

7. Distract your mind

Divorce during pregnancy can push one into severe depression and withdrawal symptoms. It is essential to keep your physical and mental health in check and deal with the stress practically. Indulge in a hobby, eat healthily, make a happy playlist, and indulge in doing up the baby room. Keep yourself distracted and busy and look at the bright side of life. Your child needs all your happy hormones.

Pregnancy is that time in life when you need positivity and family support around you. Going for a divorce during pregnancy can be stressful. The decision and the process may be emotionally taxing, especially when the marriage has ended bitterly. However, since a stressful marriage can drain you emotionally during pregnancy and childbirth, it is better to go for divorce, even during pregnancy, if there is no way the marriage can work. Also, do not hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or professionals to ensure a safe pregnancy.

Key Pointers

  • Some states do not finalize a divorce if the wife is pregnant during the process and paternity is yet to be established.
  • Plan your finances and consult a lawyer regarding the legal proceedings.
  • Seek emotional support and try finding a safe house if you are in an abusive relationship.
  • Take care of your health while working out a co-parenting plan for the proper upbringing of your baby.

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Margaret F Terrasi

Maggie Terrasi is an attorney in Southeast Michigan, having graduated from the law school in 2003. She works with families to help them through the difficult times of custody or divorce. And has been able to help clients protect their assets with estate planning ideas. Maggie has a teenage daughter, who she enjoys spending time with.  She also enjoys reading,... more

sanjana lagudu

Sanjana did her graduation in Pharmacy and post graduation in management. It was during her first job, she recognized her skills in writing and began working as a freelance writer. Later, she completely moved into content writing and began working as a full-time content writer. Sanjana's articles in MomJunction cover topics related to new parenting and relationships. A fitness enthusiast... more