Being pregnant is typically a time of happiness and joy for most couples. However, we all know that this is not always the case. There could be any number of reasons that the relationship is not doing well. The couple may have been fighting and considering divorce for a while. Maybe the husband is physically or verbally abusive. Maybe the husband is not the father of the child. Regardless, you may be wondering if getting divorced while pregnant is an option in Arizona.

Can You Get Divorced?

Most states will allow you to get a divorce if you are pregnant, but this is not always entirely true. Some states have certain guidelines that could delay the process of getting a divorce when you are pregnant. These states include Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Arizona.

In Arizona, there aren’t any special additional requirements or prerequisites that need to be met to file for divorce when you or your spouse is pregnant. Of course, you will have to meet the residency requirement to file for divorce. This means that you or your spouse will need to have legally lived in Arizona for at least 90 days before filing for a divorce.

As long as that has been met, you can file the divorce petition in your county. However, even though you can file for divorce, it’s likely that the divorce will not be finalized in the typical timeframe.

This is because there may be issues with the children that will have to wait until after the birth of the baby before they can be decided. Courts can’t make orders on child support or child custody until after the birth of the child. This can push the divorce finalization back by quite a few months.

You Don’t Have to Stay with Your Spouse

If you are not going to be able to finalize your divorce until after the birth of the child, it doesn’t mean that you have to stay with your spouse during that time. If you do not feel safe in your marriage and you worry that your spouse could harm you, the most important thing to do is to protect yourself. Find a different place to stay, and if you have been assaulted, contact the police and an attorney who can help you get a protective order in place.

When the Child’s Father is Not the Husband

In some cases, the wife might be pregnant by someone who isn’t her husband because she was having an affair. In those cases, the husband will often decide that they do not want to have legal paternity. However, in Arizona, the man who is the husband is legally presumed to be the father of the child if he was married to the mother at the time of birth. To relinquish paternity, he will be able to sign a Waiver of Paternity Affidavit and have it notarized.

The person who is the biological father and who wants to have legal paternity can get a copy of the waiver the husband signed and bring it along with his Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity to the Arizona Division of Child Support Services. According to the law in Arizona, it is possible to establish paternity during the pregnancy. This could help to make matters easier later, and it could help your process of getting divorced while pregnant to move along more quickly.

Should You File for Divorce When Pregnant?

The answer to this question will vary from one couple to the next. In some cases, the desire to start the procedure might be strong, even though it might not be able to be completed until the child is born. It’s important to keep in mind that the process of getting divorced while pregnant (considering gathering evidence, etc., particularly in a difficult divorce) will be stressful.

All of that stress is not good for the mother. For this reason, some couples—or just one party—might decide that even though they know they are going to be getting a divorce, they will wait until after the baby is born to begin filing any paperwork. It can help to reduce some of the stress and allow the mother to focus on the child.

Husbands who want to make sure that they will have parenting time and legal decision-making for their child may find that it’s easier to wait until the child is born before getting a divorce. This will establish that they are the legal father of the child.

Of course, delaying the divorce is not always the best decision either. In cases where there is abuse in the marriage, getting the ball rolling and getting a protective order might be the best decision. Once a protective order and other orders are in place, they will be effective during the divorce proceedings.

Each situation is different. Sometimes, you can’t wait to file the paperwork, and other times it might be better to get the ball rolling now. Take the time to consider your goals and what you need and then make your decision on how to proceed.

It Can Be Complicated

No one gets married and then pregnant with the intention of getting a divorce. When someone finds themselves in a situation where they need to get a divorce, it means that there are serious issues with the marriage that can’t be worked out. The addition of the unborn child complicates the divorce more than it would have been. This means that it’s in your best interest to talk with an attorney if you’re planning on getting divorced while pregnant.

While you aren’t technically required to have an attorney for your case, the more complicated divorces are not always as easy to handle on your own. Whether you are the one who is pregnant or not, you will find that getting some advice from an attorney who has worked in these types of situations will be very helpful. They can give you guidance on what you need to do, the paperwork you need to file, when you can file, etc. It’s not as easy as an uncontested divorce with no kids.