Divorce During Pregnancy

Family Law Attorneys Assisting Residents of Dallas and the Surrounding Areas

Pregnancy and divorce seem to be at the opposite ends of the spectrum of significant relationship events, but in some cases, a couple will decide to end their marriage despite the fact that they are expecting a child. While in some states, a divorce during pregnancy is handled no differently from other divorces, a pregnancy can complicate divorce proceedings in Texas. If you intend to seek a divorce while you are anticipating the birth of a child, it is critical to engage an experienced Dallas divorce lawyer to help you navigate the intricate process of divorcing during a pregnancy. At the McClure Law Group, our attorneys will help you seek your desired result as smoothly as possible.

Filing for Divorce While Pregnant

A person seeking a divorce during pregnancy must fulfill the same requirements as anyone else filing for divorce. To institute a divorce case in Texas, either the person filing for divorce or his or her spouse must be a resident of Texas for a minimum of six months prior to filing, and a resident of the county in which the Petition is filed for a minimum of 90 days. Divorce proceedings begin with the filing of a Petition for Divorce. In the Petition, the party seeking a divorce will typically need to indicate whether the wife is pregnant and, if so, whether the husband is the father. The divorce cannot be finalized until 60 days have passed since the Petition was filed. Although it is not prohibited under the law, it is unlikely that a Texas court will grant a divorce while the wife is pregnant. Instead, the court will wait until after the child is born so that matters such as custody and support can be addressed in the divorce decree.

Establishing Paternity

One of the issues that often arises in divorces filed while the wife is pregnant is the paternity of the unborn child. Under Texas law, a man is presumed to be a child’s father if he is married to the child’s mother, and the child is born while the couple is married or before the 301st day after the marriage ends. Although a man is presumed to be the father of a child under these circumstances, the presumption is rebuttable.

If either party disputes that the husband is the father of the unborn child, he or she can petition the court to adjudicate the child’s paternity. In adjudicating paternity, the court will consider genetic testing that either proves or disproves the presumption that the husband is the father of the child, or establishes that another man is the father. When genetic testing is required, paternity typically cannot be established until the child is born.

The presumption of paternity can also be rebutted by a denial of paternity by the husband, in conjunction with an acknowledgment of paternity by another man, which is the equivalent of an adjudication and discharges the husband from any parental obligations or rights.

Child Support and Custody

Even if neither party disputes that the husband is the father of the child, the court will reserve ruling on issues of custody and child support until the child is born. Under Texas law, it is presumed to be in the best interest of the child for the parents to be joint managing conservators, which means that they will both be able to make decisions regarding the child’s care and upbringing. Additionally, the courts generally grant each parent possession and access, which is the term that Texas uses for visitation. In many cases, the court will order one parent to pay the other parent child support as well.

Discuss Your Case with a Trusted Divorce Attorney

Many divorces are emotionally and legally complicated, but when a couple seeks to divorce during pregnancy, it can be especially difficult. The Dallas attorneys at the McClure Law Group are proficient in handling complicated divorce matters and will aggressively pursue a favorable outcome on your behalf. We have an office in Dallas and a second office in Plano, at which we are available by appointment. We routinely represent individuals in divorce actions in Dallas, Fort Worth, Garland, Irving, Richardson, McKinney, Frisco, and Rockwall, as well as other cities in Dallas, Collin, Grayson, Denton, Tarrant, and Rockwall Counties. To schedule a meeting to discuss your case, you can contact us through our online form or at 214.692.8200.

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