Are You Considering Divorce While Pregnant?


Are You Considering Divorce While Pregnant?

Pregnant woman with hands on her bellyIf you are considering or already pursuing divorce during pregnancy, speaking to a family law expert can help you navigate this process. If you are considering a divorce while pregnant in New Jersey, there are certain things that you need to know.  Until your child is born, New Jersey Family Court will not make any determinations relative to your child. Accordingly, you are not able to file for custody prior to the birth of your child. However, if you choose to file a complaint for divorce while pregnant, you will need to indicate that there is an expectant child of the marriage. It is not illegal to divorce while pregnant in New Jersey.

If you are considering a separation or divorce while you are pregnant, it is important to understand that there is a strong presumption in the state of New Jersey that both parents will be involved in the child’s life. While Family Court in New Jersey will not make a determination prior to the birth of your child, communicating with your spouse, either directly or through counsel in an effort to reach some preliminary agreements or understanding about what the circumstances will be, or what the parents want to achieve once the child is born, it is the best course of action.

Generally, parenting time for the non-pregnant spouse is treated differently when a child is first born. During that time, if the child’s parents are not living together or involved in a relationship, navigating the infant stage can present some challenges. Working to discuss those challenges and how they will be handled ahead of time and considering an expansion of parenting time as the child grows, will benefit everyone involved in the process.

There are some logistical issues that also should be addressed when considering divorce while pregnant, such as health insurance. People who are married, but are going through a divorce can expect that their health insurance should remain the same up through and until the entry of the final judgment of divorce, except in certain circumstances, such as an employment change. However, the divorce proceedings alone do not create a change in health insurance. In fact, the opposite is true, and health insurance is expected and required to remain the same during that time period. Certain expenses can be addressed, such as unreimbursed medical expenses attributed to the pregnancy and birth of the child. It is helpful if the parents are able to address the expenses directly or through counsel, but if necessary, the court will address the determination of how these expenses are apportioned between the parents.

How do you survive a divorce while pregnant?

Preparing a budget, not only a marital budget, but a future anticipated budget as you prepare for the birth of a child and addressing those upcoming costs will also be helpful during divorce proceedings. Determining financial support, such as alimony and child support and having a clear understanding of those expenses and anticipated expenses will be necessary. If you already have child support in place, keep in mind that child support will be necessary for the new child following the birth. A commitment to communicating well while divorcing and pregnant will allow you to effectively coparent once the child is born.

Being pregnant can affect the divorce, because there are issues that should be addressed, differently than if you were not pregnant during divorce. How the birth of this child will impact the divorce and any other children already involved can be significant, such as an understanding of how involved the other parent wants to be with the child, and what if any purchases or costs are being incurred by that other parent. If a child will be born, while the divorce is pending, or after the divorce, it is recommended that issues such as selecting a name for the child and also whether or not the other parent will be present at the time of the birth, will allow for everyone to have a clear understanding of boundaries when the child is born. You may want to consult with non-legal professionals to help you navigate this process as well. 

The attorneys here with DeTorres & DeGeorge have negotiated these matters effectively for other clients, and are ready to assist you with coping with a divorce while pregnant. Contact us today. 

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