Can I File for Divorce While Pregnant in California?

There is no convenient time to get a divorce. If you’re pregnant and looking to dissolve your marriage in California, however, you can face unique challenges in the months ahead. While you can file for divorce while pregnant in California, state law says that the divorce cannot be finalized until after your child is born. Find out how to navigate this type of divorce in a way that will protect your rights, with special advice from our San Diego paternity attorney.

Are Divorces During Pregnancy Common?

Getting divorced while pregnant is more common than most people realize. Not every couple has the luxury of being happy, financially stable and ready to have a child together when they find out about a pregnancy. For a wide range of reasons that differ from one couple to the next, a pregnancy could be the final straw for a marriage that was already struggling.

What Can Lead to a Divorce During Pregnancy?

There are many reasons why a married couple may not want to stay married while the woman is pregnant. These reasons can be related to the new baby or completely unrelated. The right time to get divorced is different for everyone. Some of the problems that can lead to a couple getting divorced while pregnant include:

  • Paternity issues, such as allegations of adultery.
  • Disagreements over wanting to keep the baby.
  • Disagreements about how to raise the child, such as the child’s religion or disciplinary styles.
  • Added stress to an already strained relationship.
  • Arguments regarding finances due to the additional costs of a child.
  • Mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
  • Domestic violence that the mother does not want around her child.

No matter what your reason is for getting divorced while pregnant in California, know that you aren’t alone. Plenty of women before you have been in your shoes and successfully dissolved their marriages and moved on to lead happy lives. There are unique challenges that you face, however, as an expectant mother.

Issues Involved With Pregnancy and Divorce

Whether this is your first child or you and your spouse already have children together, you will encounter a few obstacles during your divorce case if you’re pregnant. Here’s a look at some of the top issues:

  • Mandatory waiting period – California has a law that requires women to wait until a baby is born to finalize a divorce. While you can proceed with the legal processes involved in getting divorced, the courts won’t finalize the dissolution until after the baby is born. In addition, the state has a mandatory six-month waiting period to finalize all divorce cases.
  • Paternity rights – California’s waiting requirement for pregnant women has to do with paternity concerns. When you become pregnant while married, your husband is viewed as the child’s legal father, even if he is not the biological father. A paternity test to determine the biological father cannot be performed until after the baby is born.
  • Child custody and visitation – Paternity is important for many matters that are essential to divorce, such as child custody, visitation and child support. A child custody decision must account for the unique needs of a newborn which typically require the mother to have primary custody in the beginning. You and your ex will most likely have to return to court periodically to modify a custody agreement as your child gets older and less dependent on you.

The most effective way to tackle these challenges is to hire a divorce lawyer in San Diego. A lawyer will represent your rights and best interests during mediation or a divorce trial. Your attorney will custom-tailor a legal strategy that is designed to achieve your case goals. To speak to a divorce lawyer today, call Boyd Law at (619) 232-1206  for a confidential case review.