Getting Divorced While Pregnant: The Legal Issues

Posted on January 25, 2024 03:38pm
Getting Divorced While Pregnant: The Legal Issues

When a couple is in the midst of divorce, pregnancy can be incredibly stressful. While some couples may choose to postpone the divorce until after the child is born, others may feel waiting isn’t an option.

Can You Get a Divorce While Pregnant?

Yes, in the state of Washington, you are allowed to finalize your divorce even if you are pregnant. Although the courts cannot prevent you from divorcing simply because a spouse is pregnant, you may encounter some legal issues as you begin the dissolution process.

Will the Other Spouse Be the Child's Legal Parent?

In Washington, a baby born during a marriage, or born within 300 days of divorce, is the legal child of both spouses. If one of the spouses is not the biological parent of the child, it must be indicated in the petition for divorce.

What If My Spouse Wants to Dispute Parentage?

In some cases, a spouse may not want the other spouse to be the legal parent, or there may be attempts to disestablish parentage for various reasons. To disestablish parentage, you will need to petition the court to declare that the other spouse is not the legal parent.

If there is a disagreement regarding the parentage of the child, there are several possible outcomes, such as:

  • If the pregnant woman believes her spouse or partner is the parent, she can allege it in court.
  • If the spouse or partner believes he is the parent, he can allege parentage.
  • If the pregnant woman believes a third person is the parent of her child, she can sue that person to establish parentage.
  • A potential father may step forward and attempt to establish his parentage.
  • In cases where the mother is receiving public aid, Washington’s Division of Child Support can sue the father believed to be the parent.
  • A parent can request Washington’s Support Enforcement Division to establish parentage.

A parentage suit is separate from the divorce case and will determine the legal parentage of a child, as well as child custody, parenting plan details, and child support.

Compassionate Representation for Divorce

McKinley Irvin has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout the Pacific Northwest for decades, handling all matters of family law, such as child custody, child support, and divorce. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation.

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