It’s not as rare as you might think to come to the conclusion that your marriage isn’t working only to learn that you or your spouse is pregnant. Sometimes, couples determine that they can’t remain married and will need to find a way to co-parent their child from the moment the baby arrives.
If you live in Texas, you may have heard that couples can’t divorce if one spouse is pregnant with their child. While the law doesn’t specifically forbid this course of action, judges in our state generally won’t allow a divorce to be finalized until after the baby is born. Texas’ divorce petition asks whether one of the spouses is pregnant.
Although there have been a great many changes in laws around pregnancy recently, this actually isn’t a new restriction for Texas. It has just received more media attention.
Why Texas judges wait to finalize a divorce under these circumstances
While some Texas judges likely do dislike the idea of an expectant couple ending their marriage, the reasons for delaying the approval of the divorce decree until the baby arrives are usually more practical. For example, a baby could be born with any number of health challenges that could upend the child custody and support agreements the couple worked out when they were expecting a healthy baby. Seeing the baby could also potentially raise the issue of paternity.
This doesn’t mean that couples can’t take any steps toward ending their marriage until a baby arrives. They can negotiate their agreements and parenting plan and have everything ready for the judge’s approval when the baby is born.
They don’t have to continue living together. If there’s an issue of domestic violence, it’s certainly still possible to obtain a protective order. It also may be possible to find a judge who is willing to finalize a divorce based on a couple’s specific circumstances. Regardless of the situation, if you’re pregnant and divorcing in Texas, it’s wise to have sound legal guidance throughout this potentially complicated journey.