I Am Pregnant and Going Through a Divorce. What Can I Expect?
It is easy to feel inundated with information about what to expect when you are expecting. Few pregnant women expect to get divorced while they are expecting, but it happens. Here is what you can expect from your divorce and the months that follow when you are pregnant.
You Can Make Parenting Decisions, but you Cannot Establish a Parenting Plan Before Birth
Talk to your partner about the parenting plan you will put into place when the baby is born.
Though you cannot create an official parenting plan before birth, you can be ready with tentative agreements regarding parenting time and responsibilities after your child is born.
A parenting plan for a newborn is much different from a parenting plan for an older child, especially if you plan to breastfeed and thus will need to be present almost constantly. A newborn’s attachment needs and sleep schedule also need to be taken into consideration when developing a parenting plan. Keep in mind that the parenting plan you establish shortly after birth can be modified later as your child grows.
You and Your Spouse will Both Have Parental Rights When Your Child Is Born
When a child is born to a married woman, her spouse is the child’s other legal parent. This is also the case when a child is born to a woman who was married when her child was conceived, even if her divorce is finalized before the baby is born. That means that when your child is born, your spouse automatically has parental rights to him or her. These include the right to parenting time, the right to seek child support, the right to claim the child as a dependent on his or her taxes and health insurance, and the right to be notified if you choose to place the child for adoption.
If your spouse is not your unborn child’s biological parent, talk to a lawyer about how to handle parental rights after birth. Your spouse will have to terminate his or her parental rights at birth and your affair partner will have to affirm his paternity of your child. This is easiest with a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form, which your partner can sign in the hospital shortly after your child’s birth. This is the only way for your child’s birth parent to have parental rights to him or her.
Work with an Experienced St. Charles Divorce Lawyer
Getting divorced is never easy. When you are pregnant while working through your divorce, it can be even more difficult. Make sure you have sufficient support on every front – medical support from your doctor to ensure a healthy pregnancy, emotional support from loved ones to keep yourself healthy through the day-to-day stresses of divorce, and legal support from an experienced Kane County divorce lawyer who can protect your rights and interests. Contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. today to set up your initial legal consultation with us. Call us at 630-584-5550 for help.