If you’re getting divorced, you already know that life doesn’t always go according to your plans. An unexpected pregnancy can really through a wrench in the works. However, it won’t necessarily stop your divorce.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The woman’s husband is presumed to be the child’s father.
Since your child was conceived during the marriage, the presumptive father will automatically have parental rights over the child — with all that entails, including the right to shared custody and visitation. The child also automatically has rights to the presumptive parent’s financial support and could be entitled to Social Security benefits on the presumptive parent’s record, inheritances and the like.
2. You can no longer get a simplified divorce.
One of the requirements for a simplified divorce in Illinois is that a couple cannot have children together — nor can one of the spouses be pregnant. This won’t necessarily stop your divorce, but you will have to go through a longer, more complicated process. You’ll need to file a parental agreement such as a joint parenting agreement and come to some understandings regarding child support payments and terms.
3. Your spouse may require a paternity test.
Depending on your circumstances, you or your spouse may have questions about the child’s paternity. If that’s the case, it’s wise to resolve those questions as soon as possible following the child’s birth. Genetic testing on the baby is painless and minimally-invasive and can be done either voluntarily or through a court order.
An unexpected pregnancy can bring a lot of extra stress into your situation, so make sure that you have sound legal advice each step of the way. Your future — and the future of your child — depends on the choices you make today.