It’s no secret that divorce is a complicated process. Even if both spouses agree to the divorce and approach the situation in a cooperative and relatively amicable manner, there are still countless elements that can complicate the process. Pregnancy provides a perfect example of something that can significantly complicate or hinder the divorce process. This week, Deputy & Mizell, L.L.C. family attorneys in Camdenton and Lebanon, MO are here to explain this particularly challenging aspect of divorce.SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION
TRUE or FALSE: You Cannot Get Divorced While Pregnant in Missouri
The lines around this topic are often blurred, and many people do not have a clear understanding of how pregnancy and divorce interrelate. This is probably because the answer to the above question is not completely “true” and not completely “false.”
A divorce cannot be legally finalized in Missouri if the wife is pregnant. However, the spouses can still file for divorce and begin handling many of the various aspects that must be addressed, such as the division of assets and debts and the custody agreement for any existing children. However, the divorce cannot be finalized until after the baby is born because the court has to wait until the new baby arrives before they can finalize child custody / child support orders for the infant.
When a married woman gets pregnant, her husband is legally assumed to be the father. If her husband has reason to believe he may not be the true father and wishes to contest it, a paternity test can be ordered. Paternity tests are not considered truly effective until after the baby is born, which is why most divorce courts wait until after the baby arrives to finalize the divorce. This will provide time to prove who the father is and make the proper arrangements based on that information. Learn more about how paternity is established here.
Child-Rearing Responsibilities After Divorce
If the husband is found to not be the father of the child, he will not be obligated to pay child support under Missouri law. (However, he may still be required to provide financial support in the form of alimony or spousal support.) If he is not the father, he will also not have any right to custody over the child as long as the divorce is finalized immediately after the birth.
If the husband is proven to be the father, he will legally be allowed to fight for custody of the child if he wishes. Depending on how the custody agreements are ordered, he may also be required to pay child support. As with all custody arrangements, the court will award custody of the infant based on the baby’s best interests.
Contact Our Family Law & Divorce Lawyers in Camdenton & Lebanon, Missouri
The best course of action is to avoid getting pregnant altogether, even if you are only considering divorce as a distant possibility. Life can be unpredictable, however, and even the best-laid plans often go awry. If pregnancy will be a factor in your divorce, it is even more essential that you seek the counsel of an experienced Lebanon or Camdenton, MO divorce lawyer. That’s where Deputy and Mizell, L.L.C. comes in. We have 70+ years of combined legal experience and you can count on our divorce and family attorneys to fight for the best possible outcome for you and your family. Contact us to schedule your free initial consultation today. We represent clients throughout Laclede County, Camden County, Miller County, and Pulaski County.