Texas Divorce and Pregnancy

Welcoming a new baby into the world is one of life’s greatest gifts. If you are also going through a divorce, however, it is likely to upend the happy experience. Pregnancy, in the best of times, is something of an emotional rollercoaster, and it’s an experience that you want to approach from as tranquil a space as possible. If divorce is also on the horizon, you’re facing a situation in which you need to focus on taking the best possible care of yourself and on obtaining the skilled legal counsel of an experienced Houston family law attorney

A Pregnancy Can Delay Your Divorce

In the State of Texas, you and your spouse can’t obtain a divorce while you are expecting a child. This is an important consideration to factor into your divorce plans. Because your divorce decree will outline the “just and right” division of your marital assets as well as solidify your child custody arrangements, Texas takes the stance that custody arrangements can’t be made for a child who’s not yet born. Even if you and your divorcing spouse have hammered out every detail of your divorce down to your unborn child’s minute-by-minute schedule, it is very unlikely that you will be able to finalize your divorce before you give birth. 

The Waiting Period

In Texas, there is a mandatory waiting period of at least 60 days from the date of filing before a divorce can be finalized. If you are pregnant when you file, it will extend the waiting period until your child is born. If you are interested in putting your divorce behind you as quickly as is reasonable, you can file your divorce papers while you’re pregnant and proceed with finalization as soon as your baby is born. If, for example, you are four months pregnant when you file, you’ll have to wait the five months before finalizing your divorce. 

Remember to Keep the Health of Your Unborn Child Your Priority

If you’re pregnant, you are full of happy anticipation and are likely to be near exhaustion much of the time. When you add the pressure and anxiety of a divorce, you can expect to be overwhelmed. When you’re pregnant, it’s necessary to put you and your unborn child’s health first and foremost. Don’t allow the additional burden of divorce to derail your healthy habits and lifestyle; instead turn to your family, your trusted friends, and your dedicated divorce attorney for the help you need. When pregnancy and divorce coincide, it’s likely to slow down the divorce process, but it can also provide you with some of the time you need to take care of yourself along the way. 

Texas Courts Presume that a Pregnant Woman’s Husband is the Father of the Child

In Texas, the court presumes that your unborn child is also your spouse’s child. If either of you disputes this presumption, the waiting period allows for paternity testing upon the child’s birth. If the court’s presumption proves incorrect, you’ll move forward with your divorce without addressing child custody arrangements for your newborn child. If your soon-to-be ex is the father, you’ll proceed accordingly.

The court won’t address child custody and child support issues before the child in question is born (and paternity is established if there is any question). The court’s stance is that, until your child is born, it’s nearly impossible to know what his or her needs are going to be. If, for instance, your child is born with special needs, the child custody arrangements you made prior to the birth will probably no longer apply. Further, if the child’s birth requires you to be absent from your job for an extended period, your need for spousal maintenance may be far greater than you originally supposed. All told, it is extremely difficult to predict exactly what your circumstances will be after you’ve given birth, and the court takes a wait-and-see approach. 

Waiting Out Your Divorce

If you are pregnant and going through a divorce, you may well have several additional months on your hands to move through the divorce process. Some couples are able to use this time to come to a mutually acceptable agreement on important divorce issues – via mediation, through their attorneys, or on their own – and are, thus, able to avoid the added stress and expense of going to court. It’s important to remember that the court has wide discretion when it comes to apportioning your marital assets and determining your child custody arrangements. If you and your spouse can hammer something out together, it’s very likely to be in your best interest. 

Consider Seeking Temporary Court Orders During Your Divorce

The fact is that if you are divorcing while you are pregnant, it’s very likely that your divorce will tend toward contentiousness. Often pregnancy will bring a couple closer together, and if yours hasn’t had that effect, it’s not a stretch to imagine that the heightened expectations and emotions of pregnancy will amplify the already significant effects of the divorce process. As such, temporary orders are often critical to navigating the leadup to divorce. Your skilled Houston divorce lawyer will help obtain temporary orders that set guidelines and ground rules that will help you find the space you need to have a healthy pregnancy and come out on the other side of your divorce. Now is not the time to try and go it alone, you need all the help you can get. Rely upon your loved ones, your friends, and your legal team to help ensure you get the support you need. 

If You Are Pregnant and Facing a Divorce, You Need an Experienced Houston Family Law Attorney

No one plans for their pregnancy and divorce to coincide, but it, nevertheless, does happen. If you are expecting a child and moving toward divorce, you have a lot on your plate. The dedicated legal professionals at The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, are here to help you throughout this difficult journey. Though divorce and pregnancy aren’t ideal partners, our experienced family law attorneys will help you find your best path forward. For a free consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.