With the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court, there’s been a lot of media attention on five states, including Texas, where divorce is reportedly not allowed if the wife is pregnant. Of course, as the story gained traction on the internet and specifically in social media, the facts have gotten lost.
The truth is that neither Texas nor any other state actually has a law that requires couples to wait until a baby is born before they can finalize their divorce. However, judges typically will not grant a divorce decree while one spouse is still pregnant in some states, including Texas.
This is nothing new. It’s been the practice for many years. The question of pregnancy is included in the divorce petition. There are a number of reasons for this.
Why judges won’t finalize a divorce before the baby is born
Judges generally want to wait until the baby is born to put child custody and support orders in place. For example, a baby could be born with serious health issues that require more money and different custody arrangements than the parents planned.
This doesn’t mean that divorcing couples can’t go ahead and negotiate their agreements. Then all that is left is to get the judge’s final sign-off on them after the baby arrives. We’re assuming here that there’s no question of paternity. If there is, that adds another layer of issues that have to be addressed.
Certainly, couples don’t have to continue living together during this time. It’s also possible to get a protective order if there’s an issue of abuse. You may actually get a judge who will grant a divorce during the pregnancy.
If you’re considering divorce during pregnancy, it’s crucial to have sound legal guidance. This can help things go as smoothly as possible.