Dallas Lawyer for Divorce While Pregnant
Getting divorced while one of you is expecting can be incredibly difficult. Divorces are already hard, and divorces involving shared children can lead to additional issues to resolve with respect to child custody and child support. If the divorce case starts while you are pregnant, it is possible that the baby could be due before the divorce finishes, or you could become pregnant after the case is already underway, causing different issues in each case.
If you are getting divorced and one of you is pregnant, talk to a lawyer right away. The Queenan Law Firm’s Dallas lawyer for divorce while pregnant can help with your divorce case and help negotiate or fight for child custody rights and other rights and protections in your case. For a case consultation with our lawyers, call us today at (817) 476-1797.
Getting Divorced While Pregnant in Dallas
First, many expecting parents might question whether they can even get divorced while a baby is on the way. Simply put, pregnancy does not stop you from filing for divorce, but most courts will wait to finalize a divorce until the baby is born. In order to make a final divorce decree, the court needs to list the baby’s parents in the custody decision, but the judge cannot make paternity determinations until the baby is born. That makes it legally impossible to proceed until the baby arrives, but you can file the case while pregnant without issue.
Texas law usually requires a 60-day waiting period, even if the couple is completely in agreement about every aspect of their divorce. With the average human gestation period at around 9 months, that 60-day or 2-month waiting period could be finished before the baby arrives. In the meantime, the couple can begin divorce negotiations and request temporary orders for other child custody issues, spousal support, and more.
Child Custody in Divorces During Pregnancy in Dallas
One of the major issues in a divorce is the question of child custody. Many couples seeking divorce have children. It is far more rare for children to be on the way while the divorce is happening, but many of the rules and expectations are the same whether the baby has been born yet or is still on the way.
Types of Custody in Texas
Texas law calls custody a “conservatorship,” with sole custody being known as a “sole managing conservatorship” and joint/shared custody being known as a “joint managing conservatorship.” These custody rights dictate which parent gets the legal right to make decisions in the child’s life, such as where they will go to school, what church they will be baptized in, and more.
Parents could also get a “possessory conservatorship,” which other states call “physical custody.” If you have possession of your child, it means that the child can live with you in your house, which gives you more control over day-to-day parenting. This can also be shared in Texas, but many parents instead receive visitation rights. Visitation allows them to see their children and spend time with them, but they do not get to have them live in their house.
You can have any mix of conservatorships, sometimes meaning that a parent will be denied the legal custody rights to make decisions but will still be allowed visitation. Typically, custody is shared unless there is a good reason one parent should not be around kids. Our Dallas family lawyers can help you understand the types of child custody and their regulations.
Custody Rights for Expecting Parents
If the baby is not born yet, there isn’t much to decide in the moment regarding custody rights: only the mother will be physically able to have possession of the child until it is born. Since the court will not finalize the divorce, they do not need to enter a final order for child custody, either. However, couples often live separately while the divorce is pending, so many custody issues will need to be resolved for other shared children, at least with temporary orders.
As soon as the baby is born, there will be many decisions to be made regarding naming, circumcision, vaccination, baptism, and more. Who gets the right to participate in these decisions comes down to who has custody (managing conservatorship), so it will be important to settle many of these issues before the baby comes. The baby will also have to go home with someone – usually the mother – but again, these issues will need to be resolved by an agreement between the parties or by the court.
Paternity and Parentage Issues During Dallas Divorce Cases
In some cases, couples get divorced after learning they are pregnant because they realize sharing a child is not right for them. In other cases, questions about paternity are a central reason for the divorce. In any case, the court needs to determine paternity or parentage in order to make custody decisions and finalize the divorce.
Texas law assumes that the pregnant mother’s spouse is the child’s parent if the child is born before the divorce or within 300 days after the divorce. Other rules can also establish paternity or parentage, but they do not usually apply to the divorce context. These rules should also apply to same-sex couples even if biological parentage cannot be established.
If another man is the father, there are ways for a spouse to file for denial of paternity. This often requires work for both spouses and the biological father in order to set the record straight. If the spouse is not the father, then the court does not need to make custody decisions for the newborn as part of this divorce case and the divorce can be granted – but paternity cannot be established until the baby is born, so the divorce still needs to wait.
Call Our Dallas Divorce Lawyers for Help with Divorcing During Pregnancy
The Queenan Law Firm’s Dallas divorce lawyers for divorce while pregnant represents either parent in divorce cases where one of the spouses is pregnant. These cases are often complex and cannot be finalized until the baby is delivered. Call our law offices today to set up a confidential legal consultation with our Dallas and Arlington family law attorney on your case. Our number is (817) 476-1797.