It’s never easy to realize that divorce is the best option for your future well-being. It’s even harder when you are pregnant.
You may be feeling a lot of pressure right now to get your divorce completed quickly, before the baby arrives and you have other stresses and responsibilities in your life.
Take a deep breath.
When it comes to getting divorced in Texas while pregnant, the law is clear. You can begin divorce paperwork now, but your divorce will not be finalized until after the birth of your baby.
That may be disappointing but to put that in perspective, most Texas divorces take 6-12 months to complete. While it’s technically possible to get divorced in 61 days (after a mandatory 60-day waiting period), that rarely happens. So, it’s unlikely that your pregnancy will cause much, if any, delay in your divorce.
Although 6-12 months seems long, you will find that there are many important issues to negotiate and this can take time. You can begin to mediate or negotiate child support issues, child custody, spousal support and property division. By the time of the birth, all of this may be completed and ready for approval.
Because you are married, Texas law presumes (for heterosexual couples) that your spouse is the biological parent of your child. You or your spouse may want to establish paternity with a blood test. If your spouse refuses to take a paternity test, the court will assume his paternity.
Alternatively, another man can file an acknowledgement of paternity and your spouse can file a denial of paternity. Your spouse will then be discharged from any responsibilities as a parent.
What If My Spouse is an Abuser?
Texas Family Code does not require a 60-day waiting period if a spouse has been convicted of or received deferred adjudication (probation) for family violence, or if you have an active protective order. But your divorce still will not be finalized until after the birth of your child.
If there has been a history or pattern of abuse in your relationship, Texas law prohibits a judge from ordering joint conservatorship (shared custody). That doesn’t mean your ex-spouse has no parental rights.
Violence in your relationship is not assumed to mean that there will be violence in the parent-child relationship. Your ex-spouse will still have parental rights and access to their child unless the court determines the child’s physical or emotional health would be endangered.
But the court can put protections in place to minimize your contact with your ex-spouse.
Pregnancy doesn’t have to bring added complications to your divorce. Call the Law Office of V. Wayne Ward to learn more about your rights as a divorcing person and a soon-to-be-parent. We will do everything we can to smooth the way forward. Call our Ft Worth divorce attorney at 817-789-4436. We are here to help.