Divorce During Pregnancy: How To File And Ways To Deal with it

Divorce During Pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock


Your relationship has been taking a toll on you for a while, and you can’t take it anymore. You want to move out and start afresh, but you have a baby on the way. Caught in this dilemma about what is best for you and your baby, you experience guilt, anger, frustration, and helplessness.

Ask yourself if you want to bring your child into the toxic environment of your house. You may want to weigh your options and decide on what is best for everyone. If you believe divorce is the best way to go forward, know the legal process and protect yourself from physical and mental strain. Read this post on how to get a divorce when pregnant and learn a few tips to cope 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. Judges sometimes avoid granting divorce before a child is born to ensure the child and mother receive adequate monetary support until the matter is resolved. Consult an attorney to ensure you honor 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 could make the situation worse. Here are 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.

Also, avoid discussing divorce with your spouse until you have spoken to an attorney. This will keep your husband from emptying all bank accounts and manipulating your financial rights.

2. Study 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.

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. Move to a different state

If the couple is adamant about getting on with the divorce procedure early and live in a state that does not allow divorce when pregnant, they can move to a state that lacks these laws. For example, a couple residing in Texas, where the law does not allow divorce during pregnancy, can move to neighboring Oklahoma or New Mexico. However, they need to live in the new place for six months before filing for divorce, and thus, this option is only feasible for couples early into pregnancy.

5. 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 time the divorce accordingly. In case you expect to raise the child alone, your attorney will help you develop a strategy to be financially independent or receive alimony rightfully.

6. Plan your finances

While considering a divorce, devise a financial plan for the future as a single parent. 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.

7. Check your insurance plan

It is likely that you share the same insurance plan as your spouse.  The filing of the divorce will null this contract. 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 taking 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 will also need to take 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

Communicate openly with your ex-spouse to determine shared parental rights and responsibilities. Discuss and set ground rules for your child’s upbringing. Topics such as 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, seek a counselor’s help.

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.

Getting a divorce during pregnancy can give way to undesirable emotions. It is essential to remain level-headed and look at things practically. We hope these tips help you make sensible decisions for yourself and your child.