Can I Get Divorced in Texas if I’m Pregnant?

Can I Get Divorced in Texas if I’m Pregnant?

No, you cannot finalize a divorce in Texas while you are pregnant. Texas law requires that the divorce proceedings be put on hold until after the baby is born. This ensures that the court can properly address issues related to the child once they are born. 

Why Can’t You Finalize a Divorce While Pregnant?

The primary reason for this rule is the need to establish the paternity of the unborn child. The court must determine who the legal father of the child is before finalizing any divorce proceedings. This is crucial for making decisions regarding child support, custody, and visitation. 

What Can You Do For a Divorce in Texas While Pregnant?

While you cannot finalize your divorce, you can still work towards reaching the terms of your divorce. This includes negotiating and drafting agreements on various issues such as property division, spousal support, and parenting plans. This can help expedite the process once the baby is born.

What If Your Spouse Is Not the Parent of the Pregnancy? 

If the husband is not the biological father of the child, paternity must be legally established before the divorce in Texas can be finalized. The process of establishing paternity ensures that the biological father is recognized as the legal father, which is essential for making decisions regarding the child’s welfare, including custody, visitation, and child support.

Paternity cannot be determined while the child is still in utero. This means that the court will wait until the child is born to conduct a paternity test. Once the baby is born, a paternity test can be conducted to confirm the biological father’s identity. This test typically involves a simple DNA swab from the alleged father and the child. 

Temporary Orders During Pregnancy

During the pregnancy, the court can still render temporary orders to ensure the safety and welfare of the parties and any children involved. These orders can include: 

  • Separation of the Parties: The court can issue orders that legally separate the parties, ensuring that they live apart during the divorce process.
  • Payment of Monthly Expenses: The court can order one spouse to pay monthly expenses to support the other spouse and any children. This can include housing costs, utilities, medical expenses, and other necessary living costs.
  • Protection of Safety and Welfare: The court can issue protective orders to ensure the safety of both parties and any children. This can include restraining orders, orders for supervised visitation, and other measures to prevent harm.

What Happens After the Baby is Born?

Once the baby is born, the divorce process can proceed to finalization. At this point, the court will officially address:

  • Paternity: Establishing the legal father of the child.
  • Custody and Visitation: Deciding who will have legal and physical custody of the child and outlining a visitation schedule.
  • Child Support: Determining the financial support the non-custodial parent must provide.

Can I Leave the State of Texas To Get A Divorce While Pregnant? 

Leaving the state of Texas to obtain a divorce while pregnant can be a complex issue, as it involves both state residency requirements and specific legal considerations regarding the unborn child. In Texas, you can file for divorce while pregnant, but the process will not be finalized until after the birth of the child.

If you are considering moving to another state to file for divorce, you must be aware that most states have residency requirements that you must meet before you can file for divorce there. This typically involves living in the new state for a certain period, often six months, before becoming eligible to file for divorce. Additionally, the new state will also need to address the unborn child’s issues, which can complicate the proceedings.

Before making any decisions, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can provide guidance based on your specific circumstances. They can help you understand the implications of moving to another state and assist in determining the best course of action to protect your rights and the welfare of your child.

What Should I Do While Pregnant and Wanting a Divorce in Texas?

Consult an Attorney

It’s important to consult with a family law attorney who can guide you through the process and help you understand your rights and options. Texas is unique in that divorce cannot occur while a spouse is actively pregnant, so having an experienced Texas family law attorney by your side can make the divorce process smoother throughout the pregnancy and once the baby is born. 

Begin Negotiations

Start negotiating the terms of your divorce, including property division, spousal support, and parenting plans. This can save time once the baby is born.

Document Everything

Keep detailed records of all interactions, expenses, and agreements. This documentation can be helpful during the court proceedings.

Plan for the Future

Consider your long-term plans and how they will impact your child. Ensure that any agreements made are in the best interest of the child.

While you cannot finalize a divorce in Texas while pregnant, you can still make significant progress toward resolving the terms of your divorce. Working with an experienced divorce and family law attorney and taking proactive steps can help ensure a smoother process once your baby is born. If you have any questions or need legal assistance, contact Deyerle Silva Smith today to schedule your consultation.