Going through a divorce or dealing with a pregnancy are rough experiences at the best of times. Yet they can each be made much more difficult should you have to deal with both at the same time. For one, can you even file for divorce while pregnant?

While the answer to the question is yes, it is also a little more complicated than it may appear on the surface. The pregnancy may slow down the divorce process, which in turn could have serious ramifications for the life of your child.

To understand how pregnancy and divorce interact, we decided to dig into the topic today. We’ll look at how pregnancy can slow down the divorce process, how the whole ordeal is affected when the pregnancy arises from an affair, and whether or not you should wait until after the baby is born to get divorced.

How Could Pregnancy Slow Down the Divorce Process?

There are no special loopholes to jump through in order to file for divorce while pregnant. In Arizona, you would need to have legally resided in the state for 90 days. If you are new to the state then you may be able to file in your previous state or just wait until the end of your third month in the state.

A pregnancy will not affect your ability to file for divorce but it will slow down the whole experience. This is because there are important things that need to get sorted out on behalf of the child. For example, issues of child custody and child support cannot be made for a fetus. But the presence of a fetus means that a child is coming soon and these issues will then be important. So rather than finish the divorce and leave them unanswered, it is much more likely that the court will wait until after birth to finalize the divorce.

Ultimately, this could be considered a positive or a negative thing. If you were looking for a fast divorce, then the pregnancy could mess with that. But it also makes it harder for somebody to leave their partner and cut them out of the child’s life by quickly divorcing them during the pregnancy. Similarly, it also makes it less likely that a quick divorce will be used as a tool to avoid making child support payments.

What Happens If the Pregnancy is From an Affair?

If the pregnancy is due to an affair then things can be a bit more complicated. The big reason for this is that under Arizona law a husband is presumed to have paternity over any children his wife gives birth to. This means that the child of the affair will be presumed to be the husband’s legally.

If the husband in the marriage does not want to have paternity over a child he knows isn’t his then he could sign a Waiver of Paternity Affidavit. This legal document takes care of the problem quickly.

Since the biological father is not married to the mother, paternity must be established rather than presumed if he wants to have a legal role in his child’s life. This can be achieved by using a form that essentially functions as the opposite of the one above. In this situation, the biological father would want to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, in addition to the signed waiver from the husband.

In many cases, becoming pregnant through an affair will lead to divorce. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. There are some circumstances where a married couple may decide it is better to wait until after the baby is born to begin divorce proceedings.

Is It Better to Wait Until After the Baby is Born to Get Divorced?

Whether or not you should wait until after the baby is born to file for divorce is something that should be considered carefully. There are pros and cons to filing now, as well as waiting to file, and they will largely depend on the circumstances that have led to the divorce.

For example, if the divorce is due to your partner being abusive then it is probably a smart idea to file sooner rather than later. The divorce may not be finalized prior to the child being born but it could allow you to access a protective order during the interim and this can let you get away from the violence.

But in contrast, filing for divorce might be a bad idea while pregnant because of all the extra stress. Divorce is a very messy subject. Even when both people get along and want to make it as smooth as possible, there are still a lot of emotions that are wrapped up in the experience. This stress may not be good for the baby’s health and so it may be better to wait until after the baby is born and no longer is chemically affected by the mother’s emotions.

Another reason that it may be better to wait as the father of the unborn child is to make sure that you are recognized legally as the father. While the general rule of thumb is that divorce won’t be finalized until after the baby is born, there are exceptions that have managed to slip by. It can be safer to wait until the child is born and then file for divorce rather than risk even a slim chance of missing out on being legally recognized. There are ways to challenge or prove paternity but these are more of a hassle in comparison.

Should I Speak To an Attorney?

If you are considering a divorce then you should speak with an attorney, regardless of whether or not you are pregnant. But if you are also pregnant then it’s even more important. An attorney will be able to help advise you on all the different issues that may arise due to the pregnancy and what additional challenges having a child with your spouse can bring to the divorce proceedings.