Getting Divorced While Pregnant: The Legal Issues

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.

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.

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. 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.

McKinley Irvin has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout the Pacific Northwest for over two decades, handling all matters of family law, such as child custody, child support, and divorce. We are well-equipped to handle all divorce and family law matters, no matter your circumstances. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation.

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