The divorce process is typically much more straightforward for couples without children than it is for parents. But what about parents-to-be? When one spouse is pregnant, the pregnancy does affect their divorce – sometimes, making it unrealistic for the couple to divorce until the baby is born. If the pregnancy resulted from the affair you are citing as your grounds for filing divorce, your situation can be even more complicated. Do not attempt to tackle the difficult process of divorcing while pregnant without an experienced divorce lawyer to guide and advocate for you.
You Cannot Create a Child Custody or Child Support Order Until the Baby is Born
Although you can begin preparing for your divorce before the baby is born by making plans for how you will divide your assets and paying down your marital debt, the divorce most likely will not be finalized until after the baby is born. This is because Arizona courts cannot create child custody order or child support orders for fetuses. The court cannot deny you a divorce solely because of you or your partner’s pregnancy, but it can also push off finalizing it until it can create these key orders. Every child has the right to be financially supported by both parents, and in most cases, it is in a child’s best interest, no matter how young he or she is, to have a consistent relationship with both of his or her parents.
Paternity and Divorce
When a baby is born to a married mother, the mother’s husband is assumed to be the baby’s biological father and automatically granted parental rights. This is also true when a baby is born within the 10 months following the mother’s divorce because her husband is assumed to be the baby’s biological father.
Waiting until a child is born to file for divorce can be an easy way for parents to avoid the hassle of establishing his or her paternity. Conversely, when a woman is pregnant by an affair partner, her husband may sign a Waiver of Paternity to avoid becoming responsible for the child. When he signs this document, the child’s biological father can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form or work with the Division of Child Support Services to establish his paternity. Only by legally establishing paternity can a father obtain legal rights to his child, and only by legally waiving his paternity can a divorcing man avoid becoming the legal father to his wife’s child when the child is not his, all of which can affect child support amount payments.
Work with an Experienced Mesa Divorce Attorney
Pregnancy can make the divorce process considerably more complicated than it would be otherwise. If you or your spouse is pregnant and you know your marriage is over, discuss your case with an experienced divorce lawyer to determine the most productive course of action for ending the marriage. Contact our team at Edwards & Petersen, PLC today to schedule your initial consultation in our office. You can attend a divorce group if you're in need of support during this difficult time.