Some states allow the filing of divorce while one spouse is expecting a baby; in other states, this is prohibited. Many people come to us and ask: Can I file for divorce in Arizona while my spouse is pregnant? Or, can I file for divorce while I am pregnant? The short answer is yes, you may file for divorce in Arizona even while one spouse is pregnant, but your divorce likely won’t be finalized until after the child is born.
Let’s take a look at some legal issues behind this, and answer some commonly asked questions regarding divorce while pregnant.
What are the requirements for divorcing while pregnant in AZ?
In Arizona, there are no special prerequisites for you to file for divorce while you or your spouse is expectant. You only need to meet the state’s residency requirement, which is that you or your spouse must have legally lived in the Arizona for at least 90 days. You may then file your divorce petition with the Superior Court in your county.
Can an Arizona divorce be finalized if one spouse is pregnant?
Though filing for divorce while pregnant is allowed in Arizona, certain legal issues will likely prevent the divorce from being finalized within a normal timeframe.
Specifically, child-related issues will remain pending until after the infant’s birth. This is because Arizona courts cannot make any orders on child custody or child support if the child in question is a fetus. At the very least, the court will need proof of paternity and the child’s Social Security Number before such matters can be settled.
What if the unborn child’s biological father is an affair partner?
If a wife is pregnant by a man who is not her husband, the husband may want to relinquish his legal paternity of the child. He can do so by signing a Waiver of Paternity Affidavit and having it notarized. If the biological father wishes to have legal paternity, he may obtain the signed waiver and submit it alongside his own Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity to the Arizona Division of Child Support Services.
State law says that proceedings to establish paternity may be done even during the pregnancy of the mother.
What are pros and cons of divorcing while pregnant?
Divorce can be emotionally and financially stressful for any couple, but a pregnancy can make it even more difficult. Some amicable couples choose to wait until after the baby is born in hopes of reducing the stress, especially for mother. Putting off the divorce may take a load off of both spouses’ minds as they prepare for the birth of the child.
Some may also wait due to paternity rules. In Arizona, a man is legally presumed to be the child’s father if he was married to the mother at the time of the baby’s birth. A husband who wishes to have custody of their soon-to-be-born child will want to stay married during the birth so that he can be established as the legal dad.
But in some situations, delaying a divorce may not be suitable. For instance, if there is any form of abuse in the marriage, either spouse may initiate the divorce process. Even if the dissolution takes time to finalize, the divorce petitioner can request the court for certain immediate decisions such as a protective order or a temporary child support order. Once granted, these will take effect during the divorce proceedings until the court makes permanent decisions.
It is understandably a complicated situation if divorce is considered during pregnancy. Before you take any legal steps, it is wise to talk to an attorney to understand your options and the potential outcomes. In Arizona, we at Goldman Law are ready to listen and guide you. Call us at (602) 698-5520 today.