There is no law against getting divorced while you are pregnant. If you are in an abusive relationship and fear your child will be a victim of violence, it may be a reason you want a divorce. If your husband is not the father, it may be why he wants to end the marriage. Additionally, if you are in a relationship that isn’t working and become pregnant, it might be in the best interest of the child to divorce.
Do Not Put the Cart Before the Horse
Child custody and support are divorce issues when couples divorce, but only after a child is born. Your marriage could end before giving birth, depending on how quickly you want to divorce and how long you have been pregnant. If that is the case, child support and custody would be formalized after the birth.
You are free to discuss these issues during the pregnancy and come to an informal agreement. If you miscarry, child support and custody become non-issues. You may or may not know your child will be born with severe medical difficulties or disabilities. If so, you can plan ahead. If not, it can upset planned arrangements.
Instead of the child going to daycare after a period of time, the child may need full-time attention, and a parent providing that care may be unable to work (or only be able to work part-time). That may result in different child custody and support than what you expected.
Alimony or spousal support becomes an issue if the full-time caregiver plans to work but cannot. It may result in a spousal support claim, or the amount of support should increase if it is already an issue.
How is Paternity Established?
Under the law, the husband is presumed to be the child’s father. If the child’s father’s identity is in doubt, it would be wise for the husband not to acknowledge paternity and ask the court for a paternity test before agreeing to pay child support.
If the mother is not honest, the husband may spend a substantial part of his income on a child that is not his. There can also be a steep emotional cost for an ex-husband to care for a child he is told is his but later learns that is not true.
Over time, if the ex-husband continues to behave like a father to a child not his own, and learns he may not be the father, a court may not allow him to challenge paternity and force him to continue support payments. Though this would be unfair to the ex-husband, courts have made this ruling because they see it as in the child’s best interests.
Experienced Divorce Lawyers
Your divorce may be more complex than you think. Negotiations resolve nearly all divorce cases. You cannot effectively do this without knowing all the legal and factual issues. There is also an excellent chance you have little or no negotiating experience. Retaining legal counsel could prevent life-altering problems after your divorce.
Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C.’s experienced family law lawyers have an in-depth understanding of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey statutes and court procedures. We can help make the process go as smoothly as possible. Call us at (866) 349-4461 or book a consultation online now.