Santa Barbara Attorney for Divorce While Pregnant

In California, there is nothing blocking you from getting a divorce while pregnant.  Sometimes the prospect of having a baby is the thing that makes you realize that you want a divorce, and that is perfectly fine under California law.  These cases may have complications that divorce without children would not have, but our attorneys can help guide you through the divorce process and help you finalize your divorce or separation.

If you are seeking a divorce while pregnant in California, contact the Santa Barbara attorneys for divorce while pregnant at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today.  Our attorneys offer a free legal consultation where we can meet and discuss how to move forward with your case.  For a free legal consult, call our lawyers today at (805) 643-5555.

Grounds for Divorce While Pregnant

In California, there is only one option for divorce: irreconcilable differences.  This often makes divorces simpler, since neither party needs to prove fault, and either party can request a divorce without accusing the other party of wrongdoing.

This means that there is no need to come up with a claim or theory behind your divorce – the decision that your relationship is not working out is enough to justify a divorce.  If the pregnancy is due to adultery, this does not need to factor into the case or be used as the grounds for divorce.

Custody Decisions for Divorce During Pregnancy

Typically, California courts do not decide child custody issues until the child is born.  This means that if you file for divorce while pregnant, you may not be able to get a child custody order for the child before they are born.  However, every divorce case has a 6-month waiting period before a divorce can be finalized.  This means that if you were over 3 months pregnant when you filed for divorce, it is likely that the child will be born before the divorce is finalized, and the court will be able to put a child custody order in place at the time of finalization.  If you do not find out you are pregnant or you do not become pregnant until after filing for divorce, you may have to wait until the child is born to finalize the divorce.

One of the most important factors in a child custody case is establishing paternity or parentage.  Under CA Family Code §§ 7540 and 7611, the law presumes that the mother’s spouse is the child’s natural parent if the parents were living together when the child was conceived.  This presumption also extends to LGBT couples.  The presumption extends 300 days beyond the end of the marriage if the marriage ends because of divorce.  This means that the court will presume any child born within 300 days (approximately 10 months) after the divorce is the mother’s former spouse’s child.

If the ex-spouse is not the child’s father, it may take additional work on the father’s part to prove paternity and claim parentage over the presumed rights of the mother’s spouse.  A mother is encouraged to speak up and clear up any parentage or paternity concerns before the child is born so that the child’s true parents can have the chance to claim custody.

After parentage is determined and the child is born, the court can make child custody decisions.  A court will typically encourage joint custody if both parents are willing and able to participate in raising the child, which could mean sharing parenting time.

Complications of Divorcing While Pregnant

There are several complications with carrying on a divorce case while pregnant.  First, there could be scheduling complications if the court date interferes with prenatal appointments or the child’s excepted birthdate.  Aside from these concerns and the child custody concerns discussed above, divorces while pregnant often have no more complications than typical divorces.  Courts usually decide many related issues during divorce cases, such as how to divide shared assets, whether to award spousal support, and how to divide custody and support for other children.

California is a “community property” state, which means that shared assets are usually divided 50/50 when a married couple gets divorced.  This means that any property acquired during the life of the marriage should be divided with equal values of property being given to each spouse.  This does not mean that each asset needs to be sold-off and have its cost divided, but this is a possible solution for property that is hard to divide, such as a house.

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is not automatic in California divorces.  Typically, medical needs, inability to seek employment, and time spent caring for shared children are some of the factors a court will look at when deciding whether to award a spouse alimony.  If one spouse is expecting to give birth close to the divorce, it is likely they will need support payments if they cannot work at the time.

Child custody and support for children that you already share with your spouse should also be determined.  Again, courts prefer joint custody whenever possible, but there are many options for parenting plans.  Parents who spend less time with the children or earn greater income typically pay support to the other spouse.

Call Our Santa Barbara Divorce During Pregnancy Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you are considering seeking a divorce and are already pregnant or became pregnant after filing for divorce, talk to an attorney about your case.  Pregnancy can complicate a divorce, but there are laws in place in California that our attorneys can use to help you navigate your divorce case.  For a free consultation on your case, call our Santa Barbara attorneys for a divorce while pregnant today at (805) 643-5555.

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