Divorcing While Pregnant in New York State

Can You Get Divorced While Pregnant in NY?

Yes. New York is one of the few states that allow couples to finalize their divorce before the birth of the child, and courts are not required to postpone a divorce until the child’s birth. However, divorcing while pregnant adds a layer of complexity to what is already a challenging process.

In New York, the legal system is designed to handle such situations with sensitivity, but there are procedural nuances to consider. For instance, child custody and support determinations will not be finalized until the child is born.

In some cases, a father may choose to challenge paternity. In New York, when a mother is married when a child is born, her spouse is considered the other legal parent. However, either parent (or another party) can rebut this presumption.

It is also important to note that some pregnancies can make court appearances and legal meetings more challenging, necessitating accommodations. Delays can affect the divorce timeline.

Tips If You Are Divorcing While Pregnant

Here is some advice for those involved in a divorce where one party is pregnant:

  • Consider the continuity of medical care. Amidst the upheaval of divorce, maintaining consistent prenatal care is vital for the health of both the mother and the unborn child. Pregnant women must navigate insurance and healthcare concerns to ensure there is no disruption in medical services. In New York, expectant mothers should be aware of their rights to healthcare coverage and the potential impact of divorce on their insurance status. It's important to address these issues early in the divorce process to avoid any gaps in care. Legal counsel can assist in negotiating terms that preserve healthcare coverage or provide for medical expenses during the divorce proceedings.
  • Prioritize the health and well-being of the pregnant spouse. The emotional toll of divorce can be amplified for pregnant women, making the management of stress and emotional health a top priority. It's essential to acknowledge the unique pressures faced during this time and to seek out supportive counseling services and support systems. Building a network of support, whether through friends, family, or professional services, can provide the emotional resilience needed to navigate the divorce process while also preparing for the arrival of a new child.
  • Draft your parenting plan during the pregnancy. Anticipating custody arrangements for an unborn child is a unique challenge within New York's legal framework. The courts cannot issue a custody order until after the child is born, but they (or the parents themselves) can set the stage for future arrangements. During the divorce process, the well-being of the expectant mother and the future child's best interests are paramount. The court may consider factors such as each parent's involvement during the pregnancy, their plans for the child's care, and their ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment. These early decisions can lay the groundwork for post-birth custody arrangements, making it essential for divorcing couples to consider their long-term plans and wishes for their child's upbringing.

Planning Parenting Time Based on the Child’s Needs

Establishing parenting time schedules and responsibilities during pregnancy requires careful planning and consideration of the unique circumstances. When it comes to making parenting-time decisions in child custody cases, it's crucial to consider the age of the children involved. This is because children's needs evolve as they grow, and these changing needs should be reflected in parenting schedules.

For instance, the intellectual and physical development of a child plays a critical role in determining suitable parenting time. A toddler's need for routine and consistency for their emotional security would require a different schedule compared to a teenager who might need more flexibility to accommodate their social commitments and increase independence.

When designing a parenting schedule for a newborn or an infant, for example, the focus should be on providing consistent and frequent contact with both parents. Babies need to bond with their parents, and this requires regular interaction.

A good schedule might involve shorter, more frequent visits with each parent throughout the week rather than long periods with one parent. This provides the baby with stability and a sense of security while allowing both parents to be actively involved in the child's care and development. It's also important to consider the child's feeding and sleeping routines, any special health needs, and the logistical feasibility of the proposed schedule.

Call (516) 514-3868 to Discuss Your Case

At the Law Office of Tzvi Y. Hagler, P.C., our attorney is dedicated to helping clients achieve favorable results in their divorce cases. Should you or your spouse be pregnant when you file, you can trust our team with your case.

We have experience in handling complex divorce and custody cases. Our team can help you understand the effect that pregnancy can have on your case and develop a personalized strategy.

Contact our team to get started on your case today.