Most men facing divorce have children who are at least two or three years old. There is a logical reason for this: most couples make a concerted effort to stay together just after the birth of a child, and this effort normally lasts at least a year or two. One study gave the average age of a child at divorce as nine years, although this certainly is not the case in every divorce.
Occasionally, however, there are parents who decide to divorce just after a woman becomes pregnant or at some point during her pregnancy. These can be some of the most traumatic of divorce cases as they involve many conflicting emotions. They can also give rise to some of the most uncomfortable of situations, particularly if there has been infidelity during the marriage on the woman’s part.
Here are some straight answers to difficult questions regarding getting a divorce while your former spouse is pregnant.
Q: Will I be able to see my child?
A: Most likely the answer is yes, but you may not be able to see him or her as much as you would like. The court will generally believe that a newborn and the mother need to be kept free of stress as much as possible and may limit your visitation time with the baby during the first few months. You may also not be able to take the baby overnight or even for an extended visit if the mother is nursing.
Q: Could I get custody of my newborn child?
A: The court will probably be less likely to grant a father custody of a newborn than of an older child unless there is a good reason to take the baby away from the mother. It is usually best for both you and the child to allow the baby to stay with the mother a great deal of time until he or she is weaned unless you suspect abuse or some other danger to the infant.
Q: What if I don’t know if the baby is mine?
A: This is one of the most emotionally painful prospects for any father. If you suspect adultery or that the baby is not your child, talk to your attorney about having a paternity test performed.
The Men’s Legal Center is ready to help you with your divorce and child custody issues no matter what the circumstances. Contact us today for more information.