Can You Get Divorced While Pregnant in California?

It’s hard to say whether there’s a “good time” to get divorced. Ending a marriage takes time and involves a lot of stress and upheaval, which can make even a calm period of your life more difficult.

While there may not be good times to get divorced, there are certainly times in your life when it’s more difficult. For example, discovering you are pregnant can upend your plans. In fact, if you live in California, it may force you to put your divorce on pause. 

California Law and Pregnancy During Divorce

Can you get divorced while pregnant? According to California law, no. Divorces cannot be finalized while one spouse is pregnant. This is intended to reduce legal complications surrounding the child’s paternity. By preventing pregnant couples from finalizing divorces, the state ensures that the baby will be born to two married parents. The non-birthing spouse is automatically considered the child’s other legal parent, with all the rights and obligations this entails. 

This accomplishes three things:

  • It ensures the non-birthing spouse cannot be prevented from claiming their parental rights toward the child
  • It prevents the non-birthing spouse from trying to evade their parental responsibilities
  • It guarantees that the child has two parents contributing towards its support

This benefits the child but can put extra strain on couples who no longer want to be married. 

Ending Your Marriage Efficiently While Pregnant

The rule is not as restrictive as it may seem, though. California already has a mandatory six-month waiting period for all divorces. If a couple chooses to file for divorce after already discovering that they are pregnant, it is likely that the pregnancy will not delay the finalization more than a month or so beyond that period. However, if a couple files for divorce and one partner gets pregnant before it’s finalized, things get more complicated. 

If that occurs, your divorce is automatically extended for another nine months. However, you can still accomplish many other goals in the meantime. For example, you can work with an attorney to receive a legal separation instead. Separations allow you to divide your assets and determine spousal support without officially ending your marriage. Once your child is born, you can convert the separation into a divorce with minimal extra work. 

Skilled Legal Counsel for Divorcing While Pregnant in California

Questions regarding pregnancy, paternity, and divorce can become very complicated in California. However, you don’t need to answer them alone. At the Viola Law Firm P.C., our expert family law attorneys have decades of experience assisting clients with even the most complex divorces and custody disputes. Learn more about how we can help you by scheduling your consultation with our California divorce and family law attorneys today.

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