If the mother is pregnant when a couple decides to divorce in Plano, the court may not grant custody right away. In fact, the court may encourage parents to wait until the child has been born before seeking a divorce and/or finalizing a divorce.
How does pregnancy impact a divorce case?
Once a couple does file, the statutory petition for divorce will ask if the wife is pregnant and if the husband is the father. In Texas, most courts won’t grant custody when the mother is pregnant until the divorce has been finalized. This doesn’t mean that you can’t file for divorce. But it generally won’t be granted until the birth.
At that time the court will decide what is in the child’s best interests concerning custody, unless the couple has agreed ahead of time on these arrangements. The final divorce decree—which may include orders related to support and division of assets—will also include child custody orders.
It is always best if both sides work together in coming up with an arrangement that provides the most stable environment for the child.
What if the husband isn’t the biological father of the unborn baby?
If the unborn baby isn’t the husband’s, it still doesn’t usually impact the ability to file for divorce before it’s born. In Texas, the husband is automatically considered the baby’s father if married at the time of birth. Therefore, his name will be put on the birth certificate.
Before finalization of the divorce, the husband can file a denial of paternity. But the biological father must also sign an acknowledgement of paternity. If not, the husband is still considered the baby’s father.
Part of the divorce proceedings may include the enforcement of a paternity test. The court could also order the biological father to cooperate. If it’s determined the husband isn’t the father, a formal judgment surrounding this matter could be included in the proceedings, such as naming the biological father.
Is an attorney necessary?
This depends on how complicated the matter is. If all sides agree as to the paternity of the child and/or on custody of the child, then it may not technically be necessary to involve an attorney in an uncontested divorce. Still, these issues can get very complex, especially when there’s a question of paternity and/or the couple disagrees over the custody of the unborn child. So it might be best to secure legal counsel if you’re facing a similar situation.
Your lawyer can help you take the necessary steps to establish that you are or are not the child’s father and/or resolve any disputes regarding custody. As the child’s father, you have rights to enforce and if you’re not the child’s father, you also have specific legal rights that help you establish as much. Talk to Warren & Migliaccio if you’re in the Plano area and facing this or a similar situation in your divorce. Call 888-584-9614 to set up an appointment.