Divorce is always a difficult time. For many people, pregnancy is a time of uncertainty too. When pregnancy and divorce occur at the same time, it can be a truly complicated situation. Keep reading to find out about some of the unique hurdles you may not have thought of. Then contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 to request a free consultation with a divorce attorney.
Paternity is the Biggest Issue
For most people divorcing while a woman is pregnant, paternity is the biggest issue. While they can file for divorce during pregnancy, they cannot finalize it until the baby is born and all paternity questions can be answered. If the couple was married when the baby was conceived, then the husband is the legal father. However, if said husband believes that someone else may be the father, then a paternity test may be required after the child is born.
Situations in Which the Husband is the Father
If both parents feel confident that the husband is the father and paternity is not an issue, there are still many child-related factors to consider and resolve. This includes child custody, medical support, the costs of labor and delivery, child support, the cost of daycare – the list goes on and on. These issues can all be addressed and decided on before the child is born.
Situations in Which the Husband is Not the Father
On the other hand, if the child’s biological father is someone other than the women’s husband, it can be a complicated issue. If the biological father has died, cannot be found, does not want to raise the child, etc., then the women’s husband can raise the child after the divorce. This is because he is legally the father if the baby was consummated while the couple was married.
That said, the biological father can request a paternity test anytime within two years of the birth of the child. If it is determined that he is the father, the may not be entitled to custody. However, he would be entitled to visitation. He may also be responsible for paying child support.
Further Complications in Determining Paternity
The above examples all relate to straight marriages but when there is a same-sex marriage, it can be even more complicated to determine who the legal parents are – in that situation it generally comes down to a person’s intent to become a parent. It can be complicated if the mother wants DNA testing to prove paternity but two years has passed.
The bottom line is that these laws are complicated and it is best to work with an experienced paternity attorney if you have questions or are dealing with this situation. You can contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 for a free legal consultation.