If you’re going through a divorce and you—or your spouse—is pregnant, first off: Congratulations! Despite the circumstances, having a child is a reason to celebrate and be happy. There is nothing better in this world than a new baby. But, since this is a legal blog, you have questions about how courts in north Texas address paternity during a divorce.
Having a baby during a divorce raises a number of emotions (fear, guilt, etc.). Just remember that you are not alone and there are many resources available to help. But, in addition to the emotional issues, there are a few important legal issues to consider.
If you a facing a divorce while pregnant, it is important to determine your legal options and begin planning. That will make it easier for you to enjoy your new baby when the stork shows up.
EVERYTHING IS ON HOLD
If a husband and wife are able to agree to the terms of a divorce, but the wife is pregnant, I’ve got some bad news for you: nothing is going to happen until the baby is born. In Texas, paternity during a divorce for an unborn child can be frustrating. Why? A court simply cannot grant a divorce while the wife is pregnant. There are too many unresolved issues to be determined until the special day arrives. And, if you don’t like your spouse very much, the “special day” is doubly special because you get a new baby and a new divorce all at the same time!
Visitation: Special Rules May Apply
A child custody dispute relating to a newborn baby raises several special issues. First is whether the child will be breastfed. If so, many mothers want the bonding experience of actually breastfeeding the child. On the other hand, many fathers see this as a false obstacle given the availability of breast-pumps. Second, courts will often restrict overnight possession of children under three years old. If you are the father, there are a few options available to help you persuade a court otherwise.
Paternity During A Divorce
It is generally obvious who the mother of the child is, but the identity of the father is sometimes unclear. However, in Texas, a child born during a marriage is determined to be the legal child of the father. This automatic finding does not apply without a marriage. However, paternity during a divorce is automatically presumed. However, that presumption can be overcome with genetic testing.
There are several reasons that a wife would be pregnant with the child of another man’s child. The two main reasons are long-term separations and adultery.
If the child was conceived by another man, then genetic testing will confirm that the husband is not the biological father. The court will usually make a finding that he is not the father of the child, and is not subject to parental rights and duties (i.e. child support, health insurance, etc.). However, there are time restrictions relating to when a paternity challenge can be raised.
If you are considering a divorce, but you or your spouse is pregnant, you can see that there are a number of legal issues to consider. However, these should not prevent you from enjoying the experience of the new baby coming into your life. Countless people deal with this issue every day, so do not let a divorce cast a shadow over such a great time in your life.
For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact us at 214-550-1122.