You left your spouse, and you have every intention of ending your marriage. Then you found out that you’re pregnant.
What does this mean for you, your spouse and your child? Here are some basics that you should know:
Your child will still be presumed to be your spouse’s
Under Georgia’s law, children who are “born in wedlock or within the usual period of gestation thereafter are legitimate.” In other words, if you give birth within nine months of your divorce, your ex-husband will automatically be considered your child’s father.
The law is set up this way so that children conceived at the end of a marriage aren’t deprived of their rights – and so that fathers aren’t deprived of theirs. Divorce before the child’s birth won’t sever a father’s parental rights. It is important to note, however, that this “presumptive paternity” can be challenged. If there’s any uncertainty about your ex-husband’s biological connection to the child, genetic testing can quickly resolve the issue.
You may have to wait for the divorce to be final
While the law doesn’t bar divorce during pregnancy, judges may take individual approaches to the situation. In some cases, a judge may grant the divorce while setting aside any decisions about custody, parenting plans and support until after the child is born.
Another judge may allow agreements about those issues to be made in advance. Others may simply hold off on the final decree until after the birth.
The speed of your divorce may also depend, in part, on your health during the pregnancy. If you have complications that interfere with your ability to actively participate in your divorce proceedings, the divorce may have to be delayed.
Pregnancy doesn’t have to keep you in an unhappy relationship, but you do need to keep the potential issues in mind as you form your divorce strategy.