While the fact that you are pregnant does not mean that you cannot get divorced, your pregnancy does raise some legal issues that as a practical matter may delay or impact your divorce proceedings. To some degree, the extent to which your pregnancy affects your divorce depends on whether the unborn child belongs to your current husband or another third party.
Under Washington law, if your child is born during a marriage or within 300 days of a divorce, the child is the legal child of both spouses. If one of the spouses is not the child’s biological father, however, there are a variety of different scenarios that can result. If you and your spouse are in agreement that he is the child’s biological as well as legal father, the child is included in the divorce for the purposes of custody, visitation, and child support. Nothing else needs to be done.
However, if you are claiming that your spouse is the father of your child, but your spouse disagrees, then DNA testing may be the only way to determine parentage of the child. As DNA testing normally occurs after a child is born, it may be necessary to delay the divorce proceedings until after the child’s birth, if the spouses disagree about whether the husband is the biological father of the child.
If you are claiming that an individual other than your spouse is the father of your child, then you can sue him for parentage. Likewise, if a third party believes that he is the father of your child, then he can step forward and try to establish parentage, as well. In these situations, the child would be completely left out of your divorce proceedings, and the judge in your divorce would not make any orders about that child. All decisions about the child would come in an unrelated parentage case that involves the child, mother, and the third party biological father.
Pacific Northwest Family Law knows how to handle all of the different issues that Washington divorce cases involve, including issues related to children and pregnancy. We understand how emotional and stressful these types of cases can be, which is why we are here to help guide you through your divorce proceedings as simply and efficiently as possible. Contact our offices today to set up an appointment with one of our Washington divorce lawyers and see what we can do to help with your case.