Can You Get a Divorce While Pregnant in Texas?
- Why do courts make you wait?
- What can you do while you wait?
- Why file for divorce during pregnancy?
- Prepare for divorce while pregnant
It is very likely that, in Texas, you will not be permitted to complete a divorce during pregnancy. Courts can’t provide detailed rulings about child custody and support until your baby is born. While you can file for divorce anytime during your pregnancy, the court is unlikely to finalize all the details until you give birth.
Texas isn’t the only state with policies like this. Arkansas and Arizona also tend to block pregnant women from finalizing their divorces while pregnant. Each state has its own policies regarding this.
Why do Texas courts make you wait?
When your baby is born, several details become clear. Until birth, things are far too complicated for the courts to untangle.
For example, when people are married, courts assume that the husband is the child's legal parent. But if the marriage is ended during pregnancy, a baby could be born without legal ties to the father, which complicates paternity rules.
Furthermore, some children have physical difficulties that don't become clear until after birth. Your baby could have birth defects, heart problems, or other issues that require more support or financial assistance than you planned for before your divorce filing.
During divorce proceedings, you and your partner outline child support payments. If your child is disabled, those payments could be higher. Courts like to wait until details like this become clear, which means they like to wait until after the birth to finalize things.
What can you do while you wait?
When your baby is born, you and your ex must make several decisions. You could start discussions now, while you wait.
You and your partner must answer questions like the following:
- Where will your child live?
- When will your child visit the other parent?
- How much will one person pay the other in child support?
- Who will make health insurance payments?
- Who will make medical decisions for your child?
- Who will make legal decisions for your child?
You’re not required to wait until birth to answer these questions. You could start discussions with your spouse now. If you disagree on the answers, you could work with a mediator to collaborate on solutions.
Mediators are trained professionals capable of helping people discuss and resolve difficult issues. Working with someone like this can help you preserve your relationship with your ex so you can collaborate on raising your child without trauma between you.
Have Questions About Divorce? Don't Know Where to Start?
Why file for divorce during pregnancy?
While you're unlikely to finalize your divorce while pregnant in Texas, you can start the process at any point. This plan has several advantages.
Filing for divorce now means you can sort out details with your spouse before your baby is born. After the birth, your baby will need all of your attention. When you know what will happen, you can focus on your baby.
When you file for divorce, you can also ask for temporary orders, including restraining orders. If your marriage is abusive, you can leave now and get protection to stay safe until the baby is born.
Prepare for divorce while pregnant
Divorce and childbirth are major life changes that can cause emotional distress.
If possible, avoid making other major life changes right now. Focus on your baby and your new life ahead. Find a support system of friends and family to talk to, and think about how they might help you when the baby is born.
Take care of your physical health by eating right, getting good exercise, and focusing on sleep. When you're feeling well, you'll be in a better place to make decisions.
At Hello Divorce, we offer a menu of customizable online divorce plans to help with your Texas divorce. You can schedule a free 15-minute phone call with one of our account coordinators to learn more.
ReferencesDivorce When a Spouse is Pregnant. (January 2023). Texas Law Help.
Pregnancy and Divorce. American Pregnancy Association.
Verify: Do These Five States Prevent Pregnant Couples From Getting Divorced? (June 2022). WUSA9.