What Should You Know About Divorcing While Pregnant?

Making the decision to split from your spouse while pregnant can be an incredibly difficult one -- and discovering that you're pregnant only after you've filed (with no hope of reconciliation) can be even more of an upheaval. Dealing with the legal and logistical ramifications of divorce while preparing to welcome a child to the world can be challenging even for the strongest person. Read on for some of the special considerations you'll want to take into account when divorcing while pregnant.

Will your ex-spouse be considered your child's legal father?

Many states have laws that dictate that any child conceived during a marriage is legally a child of the marriage, unless outside paternity is proven. If your state is one of these, you won't have to do anything to add your ex-spouse to your child's birth certificate once he or she is born. 

If your state doesn't have laws that will automatically grant your ex-spouse paternity when your child is born, you may need to open a paternity case as part of your divorce case so that paternity can be legally established. Otherwise, you may have trouble securing child support or other legal benefits to which your child may be entitled.

How will child support be established?

For situations in which your divorce is not yet finalized at the time of your child's birth, it can be relatively easy to establish child support as part of your divorce agreement. Most states have guidelines for an appropriate amount of child support based on income, cost of living, and family size, making it simple to calculate the amount you should be receiving.

If you've already finalized your divorce before your child is born and haven't agreed on or addressed the matter of child support, you may need to file a motion to establish support in the same court that handled your divorce case. 

What if your ex-spouse requests a paternity test? 

In some particularly contentious cases, your ex-spouse may request a paternity test before agreeing to have his name put on a birth certificate or paying child support. If such a test is requested, you may be required to consent to paternity testing in order to establish child support, even if your state ordinarily mandates that a child conceived during a marriage is legally a child of the marriage.

For more information, contact divorce law experts, such as Gomez May LLP.