The Best Way to Go About Divorce When Pregnant
If you’re considering filing for divorce while pregnant, these tips and tricks can help you navigate the process successfully from a legal standpoint. In addition to protecting yourself legally, you should consider the need for emotional support to ensure you stay well during this difficult time.
Get to a safe place
If you feel unsafe in your marriage, the first and most important step is to protect yourself and your unborn child. Seek help from a local women’s shelter or domestic violence and crisis center if necessary. Contact the police department to file a report if you’ve been assaulted, and contact an attorney to assist you in securing a restraining order for further protection. Don’t talk to your spouse about divorce; instead, share your thoughts and plans with an attorney, who can help you strategize before filing for divorce. This can ensure your spouse doesn’t empty bank accounts or make any other effort to harm your case before you file.
Find out if you can divorce while pregnant in your state
While most states (including Massachusetts) allow divorces to be finalized when the couple is expecting a child, some states have guidelines that might delay the process for you. Florida, Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, and Missouri all have laws that require you to wait until baby is born to either file for or finalize your divorce. Meeting with an attorney to develop a strategy early can help you ensure you’ve honored all local and federal laws governing divorce while pregnant in your area.
Consider the impact on custody
In states that allow divorce while pregnancy, the timing of the divorce may impact your spouse’s parental rights after the baby is born. These laws can be complex and usually vary from state to state. If you and your spouse agree on their future involvement and want to ensure your spouse has parental rights to the unborn baby, your attorney can help you time your divorce accordingly. However, if you anticipate you will be raising the child alone, your attorney can help you develop a strategy that best supports that outcome as well.
It’s also important to develop a parenting plan early; this can ensure that your wishes are respected while you’re in the hospital (whether you want your ex-spouse to be able to visit or not) and relieve you of the pressure to get an agreement in place while you’re recovering from pregnancy and delivery and enjoying your new baby.
Plan for your financial well-being
While you’re planning for divorce, you should also plan for your future as a single parent. Create a budget, outlining your income and expenses and identifying any gaps. Will you be able to afford the new bills that come with a new baby, such as diapers, childcare, and formula if you formula-feed? Will you be able to continue working the schedule you worked before? If you stayed home, will you be able to find employment and will the income cover your expenses?
All of this information should be shared with your attorney; he or she will use it to develop a strategy for child support and alimony.
Don’t forget your emotional needs
Generations of women have raised children alone successfully. It’s very possible to give your children everything they need despite divorce. However, the task can be physically and emotionally draining and is much easier when you have the support you need. Consider joining local mom groups or book clubs, or a church or religious organization of your choosing. Seek out therapy or counseling if you’re struggling to balance your emotions and tend to your own needs while caring for your child or children. Be honest with your doctor during your postpartum visits so he or she can point you in the right direction if you need support.
To learn more about filing for divorce while pregnant or to secure an experienced attorney dedicated to protecting you throughout the process, contact Infinity Law Group in Boston by calling 855-941-0909 or visiting their website today.