What to Do if Your Wife is Pregnant During a Florida Divorce?
The first question your Orlando divorce attorney will ask you during the initial consultation is whether you share children with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. If you answer “no,” you may also be asked if your wife is currently pregnant.
When pursuing a divorce, the wife’s pregnancy may extend the length of your divorce case. If your spouse is pregnant during a divorce, you may have to wait longer to finalize your divorce in Florida. It is vital to consult with a knowledgeable divorce attorney to evaluate your particular situation and determine how your wife’s pregnancy would affect your divorce case.
Presumption of Paternity in Florida
In Florida, a child born to a married mother is always presumed to be her husband’s biological child. However, regardless of whether you are the biological father or not, the predetermined paternity might delay your divorce case.
Under the Florida Statute Section 382.013, when the mother is married at the time of childbirth, her husband’s name will be entered on the birth certificate as the biological father of the child. The only exception to the rule is when paternity has been established otherwise.
In other words, you will be presumed to be the biological father of the unborn child when your wife gives birth to the child.
Moving Forward with Your Divorce During Pregnancy
While it might seem that your wife’s pregnancy would delay your divorce case, it does not have to be this way. With a skilled divorce attorney by your side, you can still move forward with your divorce even while your spouse is pregnant.
First and foremost, your wife’s pregnancy must be specified in:
- the initial petition for divorce; or
- the answer by the responding spouse.
While it is true that Florida courts cannot issue a final divorce decree until the birth of the child, there are still ways to proceed with your divorce case before the childbirth. If you are the biological father, you can resolve all issues surrounding your divorce, including but not limited to property distribution and alimony, even before the child is born.
It is advised to hire a skilled divorce attorney to facilitate negotiations between you and your pregnant spouse and help you reach a consensus. However, your divorce case will not be finalized until after the child is born in order to issue a child support order and a parenting plan.
Creating a parenting plan after the child is born can be a time-consuming experience, especially if expectant parents have different views on how to split parenting time in the best interests of the newborn.
What if the Husband is Not the Biological Father of the Unborn Child?
If you have legitimate reasons to believe that you or your spouse is not the biological father, you may complete a DNA test and contest or disestablish paternity. Also, if the child was conceived out of wedlock during the marriage, the biological father can sign an affidavit of paternity to acknowledge his parenting rights and responsibilities.
If the married father can disestablish paternity before the child is born, the final divorce decree can be issued even before birth. Contact a skilled family law attorney at the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee if you or your spouse is pregnant but you want to move forward with your divorce in Florida. Call at 407-521-7171 to receive a consultation.