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The truth about pregnancy and divorce in Texas

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2024 | Family Law

As reproductive rights and health are increasingly addressed by state lawmakers, courts and voters across the country, there has been widespread reporting that a handful of states, including Texas, don’t allow pregnant women to divorce. In fact, Texas has no law that specifically prohibits it. However, divorces are not typically finalized while one spouse is pregnant.

Let’s look at a few facts and what steps Texans can take toward ending their marriage during a pregnancy.

One of the questions asked in Texas’ divorce petition is if the wife is pregnant. It also states, “I understand that I cannot finish the divorce until after the child is born.” The petition also requires disclosure of whether the husband is the father of the child (if known). The divorce also can’t be finalized until paternity is established, if there’s any question.

Why Texas judges wait until the baby is born to grant a divorce

The reason (at least the stated reason) why Texas judges won’t finalize a divorce until after the baby is born is so that child custody and support agreements can be codified with the divorce decree (assuming the husband is the father). 

Doctors are able to tell far more about the health of an unborn child now than in the past. Nonetheless, there can always be unexpected complications that can necessitate a change in the custody and support agreements when the baby is born.

Couples can still move forward with divorce preparations

A couple that intends to divorce doesn’t have to continue to live together. In fact, Texas doesn’t have a required separation period before divorce, as many states do. Further, if there’s an issue of domestic violence, a spouse can seek a protective order.

There’s a lot that couples can do to prepare for divorce as they await the birth of their child. They can (and should) each seek legal guidance and start working on all of their agreements. This will help speed up the finalization of the divorce once the baby arrives.

A baby doesn’t necessarily mend a troubled marriage. In fact, it can add to the problems a couple is already facing. If you’ve decided to proceed with the divorce and to co-parent your newborn, you don’t have to wait around for months to begin the process. There’s a lot you can do now to move things forward.