No one envisions a future where they’ll be going through a divorce while they’re pregnant. However, that’s the way it sometimes works out. While some couples may decide to stay together when they learn that they’re having a baby, others determine that they don’t want to bring a baby into an unhappy marriage.
If you have decided to go through with your divorce and co-parent your child, there are some areas that require special consideration. Let’s look at a few.
The custody agreement
Custody agreements for infants typically revolve around what the baby needs from the mother – particularly if she will be breastfeeding. Often that involves the baby remaining with the mother for at least the first few months. However, it’s also crucial for the father (or another co-parent) to have the opportunity to bond with the child. That’s often accomplished by frequent visits.
There are, of course, other options. The custody arrangement you seek will be unique to your own situation.
Spousal support (alimony)
If the mother-to-be isn’t currently working, she’s likely not going to be able to get back into the workforce immediately after the baby is born. Her co-parent will likely be expected to pay alimony at least for the foreseeable future.
California has a Paid Family Leave program, as do some individual employers. It’s important to find out how much money that will involve and for how long before determining how much spousal support is needed. Of course, child support will also be a crucial part of the divorce agreement.
Typically, once the divorce is final, neither spouse has a responsibility to keep their ex on their health insurance plan. However, if a pregnant woman depends on her spouse for health insurance, she needs to be kept on that policy at least until the baby is born, and possibly after that for a time. Of course, one parent must assume responsibility for the baby’s health insurance.
It’s crucial to make sure that both mother and baby have health insurance throughout the pregnancy and following the birth. The co-parent may be ordered to keep the mother on their policy until she’s able to obtain her own insurance.
As we noted, every situation is different. However, one thing that’s certain is that dealing with pregnancy and divorce simultaneously can be overwhelming. It’s crucial to have sound legal guidance throughout the process.