How Can I Prepare for Divorce While Pregnant?

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How Can I Prepare for Divorce While Pregnant?

Divorce, the legal termination of a marriage, can be a challenging and emotional process. It becomes particularly complex when one is pregnant. Pregnancy adds an extra layer of consideration to the divorce process, from addressing paternity to considering potential implications for child custody arrangements. During such a time, the guidance of a seasoned family law attorney at Andrea Heckman Law becomes crucial in ensuring your rights and those of your unborn child are protected.

Determine Paternity

Addressing the issue of paternity is one of the first steps to take when preparing for a divorce during pregnancy. Establishing the legal rights and responsibilities of the father is essential for you and your child. Doing so ensures the father can be held accountable for child support and also allows him to exercise his parental rights.

If the child’s biological father is not your current spouse, it’s important to have the biological father sign an acknowledgment of paternity or request the court to order paternity testing if the alleged father is uncooperative. This process helps ensure that the child’s biological father is legally recognized and held responsible for child support, custody, and visitation.

Child Custody of an Unborn Child

Pregnancy may affect child custody arrangements in a divorce. Courts prioritize the best interests of the child when making custody decisions. Factors such as your health during pregnancy, your ability to care for the child after birth, and the involvement of the father are all taken into account. Illinois law allows parents to request an order for child custody and support of an unborn child. After the child is born, the parents can revise the order to form a parenting plan. Usually, extended periods away from the mother will not be permitted, but visitation is allowed. 

Understanding Your Legal Options

Illinois is a no-fault state, meaning it isn’t necessary to establish grounds for a divorce. However, if you are expecting a child, that may mean you are not eligible to obtain a “simplified divorce,” also known as a joint simplified dissolution of marriage. This type of divorce is typically available to couples without children or significant assets. However, pregnancy complicates the process. It is crucial to consult with a family law attorney to understand the specific requirements and options available to you.

Practical Steps for Preparing for Divorce While Pregnant

  1. Seek Legal Guidance: Enlist the skill of a seasoned family law attorney who assists with divorce cases involving pregnancy. They can provide personalized advice, help you understand your rights, and guide you through the legal process.
  2. Gather Essential Documents: Begin collecting crucial documents such as financial records, property deeds, and any existing legal agreements. These documents are critical during the divorce process to ensure a fair division of assets and liabilities.
  3. Take Care of Your Health: Pregnancy can be physically and emotionally taxing. Ensure you maintain regular prenatal care, seek emotional support from trusted friends or family members, and consider therapy or counseling to help navigate the emotional challenges of divorce.
  4. Create a Support Network: Surround yourself with a strong support network of friends, family, and professionals who can provide emotional support and practical assistance throughout the divorce process.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Divorce Lawyer

Navigating a divorce while pregnant may feel daunting, but with proper preparation and support, it can be managed successfully. By addressing paternity, understanding how pregnancy can affect child custody arrangements, and seeking the guidance of a family law attorney like Andrea Heckman, you can protect your legal rights and ensure the well-being of yourself and your child. Remember, you do not have to go through this alone. At Andrea Heckman Law, we stand ready to guide you through this challenging journey with compassion. Call today for a consultation.

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