How Pregnancy Affects Divorce

How Pregnancy Affects Divorce

When people learn that a baby is on the way, their reactions may range from euphoria to dismay. A new baby affects every aspect of the new parents’ lives, whether their marriage is strong or on the rocks. Any divorce can be complicated, but how pregnancy affects divorce depends on a number of factors.

Who’s Pregnant?

Pregnancy may affect a divorce if the following has happened:
  • The wife is pregnant with her husband or domestic partner’s child;
  • The wife is pregnant with someone else’s child; or
  • The husband has impregnated someone other than his spouse.
The last option may have caused the divorce. However, the baby may have little or no effect on the final divorce settlement, at least concerning child custody and visitation.

Paternity May Be an Issue

A baby born of married parents is presumed to be the child of both parents. For example, if a woman becomes pregnant during her marriage and is still married when she gives birth, parentage is automatically established. If paternity is a little uncertain, the couple may have to wait until the child is born to determine who fathered the child. A husband has the right to ask for a DNA test to confirm that he is the biological father of the child. As long as the husband is considered the legal parent of the child, he may be held responsible for child support. As you might expect, establishing parentage is complicated. Whether you are the father or mother, discuss your situation with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Overall Effect on Divorce

California law does allow a couple to file for divorce when one spouse is pregnant. However, the divorce generally will not be finalized until the baby is born. For one thing, the divorce may be delayed if a paternity test is needed. Also, child support, child custody, and visitation issues usually cannot be resolved until the baby is born. In fact, California law requires that the child be born before custody arrangements can be made.

Pregnancy Affects Divorce in Different Ways

It may take a judge, but any issue that affects divorce, including pregnancy, can be worked out. You don’t have to go through this alone. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of legal separations and divorce proceedings. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We maintain offices in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.
Before You File: Issues to Tackle Before Filing Your Divorce Petition

Before You File: Issues to Tackle Before Filing Your Divorce Petition

What you do before you file for divorce really depends on the type of marriage you had. How well do you and your current spouse communicate? Does your spouse seem secretive, like they’re hiding something? Despite the many factors that go into marriage and divorce, there are some basic issues you should tackle before filing your divorce petition.

Make Sure Divorce Is the Right Option

Divorcing your spouse is a huge decision. Is it right for you? For your children? How will you handle the divorce emotionally and financially? Can your marriage be saved? Consider all your options before starting a divorce proceeding.

Figure Out What Property is Yours and What Is Not

Make an inventory of your separate property and community property before announcing you want a divorce. Keep the inventory in safe place.

Gather Documents

Find all your important papers. Some original documents, like your Will, should be placed in a secure place, like with a trusted friend or your attorney. Make copies of all other documents and store those in a safe place also. Most people hope their divorce will be amicable, but, of course, that’s not always the case. You don’t want your soon-to-be-ex walking off with your proof of property ownership, financial statements, and so on.

Make Financial Plans a Priority

Determine how much money is available now and in the future. Preparing a budget may help you cover your bills before and after the divorce is final. By looking carefully at your finances now, you may be able to head off problems down the road.

Begin to Establish Credit in Your Own Name

It’s entirely possible that your credit is closely linked to your spouse’s. Consider applying for small credit card or other types of credit in only your name.

Address Joint Accounts

It’s also possible you have joint accounts with your spouse, including bank accounts and credit cards. Take steps to avoid having your spouse run up large credit card bills that may be considered community debt. Since debt acquired during a marriage is usually considered to be the debt of both partners, you may have to pay half of the bill for your spouse’s spending spree.

As for bank accounts, make sure your spouse cannot close the account without your approval. 

Check Out Your Estate Planning.

Hopefully, you have a Will and durable power of attorney. Talk to your estate planning attorney about changes that will be necessary. Some attorneys recommend changing your estate plans during and after a divorce.

Communication is Key

To make sure you are getting all your mail or that your mail remains private, you may want to open a post office box.

Stay in communication with friends and family. Not only will this provide some much-needed support for you, they can rest easier knowing you are okay.

Keep Your Own Actions Clean – and Private

Don’t engage in behavior that could get you in trouble during your divorce. Also, be very careful what you post on social media. In fact, you may want to swear off Facebook and Instagram until your divorce is final.

Consult with a Divorce Attorney

This is the most important advice on this list. Divorces can be messy. A California divorce attorney knows California divorce law. Many divorcing couples make mistakes that could be prevented by talking to an attorney before taking action.

You Don’t Have to Do This Alone

Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Marin County, Gold River, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities. Our Beverly Hills office is opening soon.