Most divorce cases involve a variety of complex issues, but there are some situations that may leave spouses wondering about their rights and how they can protect themselves going forward. One concern that some divorcing couples may face is determining how to proceed when they are expecting a child. Emotional and psychological issues notwithstanding, there are many challenges that may arise when getting a divorce while a spouse is pregnant.
Legal Issues Involved When Divorcing While Pregnant
A spouse’s pregnancy can greatly complicate the divorce process. Some of the issues that may need to be addressed in these cases include:
No Simplified Divorce—Although some married couples can get a simplified divorce, this option is not available if the spouses have children together or are expecting a child. This means the divorce proceedings will be more involved, and they may take longer to resolve.
Delays—A variety of issues could slow down the divorce process in cases involving pregnancy. For example, the judge may order you and your spouse to wait to finalize your divorce until your child is born to ensure that you will have a better understanding of the requirements for parenting time, allocation of parental responsibilities, and child support. You may also wish to receive a legal separation before continuing with your divorce in order to allow more time for the child’s birth.
Paternity—When a child is born to a mother who is married, her husband is presumed to be the child’s legal father. However, if the identity of the child’s biological father is in doubt, the spouses may need to take steps to verify paternity through DNA testing or by having the biological father voluntarily acknowledge paternity. Establishing legal paternity for the child will provide the biological parents with parental rights and allow the child to receive child support from both parents.
Greater Likelihood of Divorce Modifications and Child Custody Modifications—One of the benefits of divorce is that it provides a couple with closure by definitively ending their marriage. However, a pregnancy could result in legal issues that may need to be addressed after the divorce has been finalized. For example, once the child is born, the parents might need to update the terms of their divorce decree to address child custody, child support, or other issues.
Contact a DuPage County Child Custody Lawyer
Divorce and childbirth are major life events, and attempting to address them both at the same time can seem overwhelming. However, ending a marriage that has broken down can ensure that your child grows up in a conflict-free environment. If you are planning to dissolve your marriage, and you need to address issues related to pregnancy or children, reach out to aWheaton divorce attorney at 630-871-1002 to discuss your options. The knowledgeable professionals at Andrew Cores Family Law Group will help you understand your options and guide you through the divorce process.
If you are going through the divorce process and working with your spouse, your respective lawyers, and/or the judge to determine how to allocate parental responsibilities, you will want to give serious thought to the development of an effective parenting plan that protects your children’s best interests while maintaining your rights as a parent. Here are some things to consider when devising such a plan:
How Do You Create the Right Parenting Plan?
The right parenting plan can make things a whole lot easier for everyone, including both parents and children. However, developing a fair parenting plan that is beneficial for everyone involved can be challenging. In fact, parents often cannot agree on the terms of the parenting plan, and the court may need to intervene and make decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, which might not be nearly as beneficial to those involved. In most cases, it is recommended to work with your lawyer and the other parent to create an effective and agreeable parenting plan. When creating your parenting plan, you will want to keep the following issues in mind:
Always Consider Your Children’s Best Interests—You must put yourself in your children’s shoes. With every term you put in the plan, consider how it will affect your children. If you think a certain stipulation will stress your child out or cause undue emotional turmoil, then you will want to rethink its objectives. There could be better ways to achieve the same goals that will not be as traumatic to the children. Also, if your child is particularly mature, you may even want to ask them their opinion. You would be surprised at how good they are at knowing what is in their best interests.
Balance Your Needs and Rights as a Parent with Those of Your Ex-Spouse—While it is true that you will ultimately want what works best for you as a parent, you probably realize that, just as with most marriages, a parenting plan requires compromise. If your ideal plan will put your spouse at a disadvantage, be willing to cooperate with them and make some concessions to get more of what you want. There could be elements of the parenting plan that you do not feel as strongly about—and those very elements could be the ones your spouse has a great passion for. That would be an excellent place to start your negotiations and determine where you are willing to compromise.
Do Not Be Shortsighted—Overall, unless you intend on eventually requesting modification of child custody orders, your parenting plan will dictate how you and the other parent will raise your children together. You must not only consider the needs of you and your children now; you must also plan for the future. How will the decisions you make apply to your children when they are older? What amendments will need to be made to make your parenting plan more relevant to a teenager? What if one or both of you gets remarried or relocates to a new home? While bigger decisions may require a child custody modification, the majority of other concerns can be addressed through nuances in your parenting plan that will allow for adaptation to new circumstances with time.
Contact a DuPage County Parenting Plan Attorney
A lot of thought goes into developing a parenting plan. During your divorce, you need the advice of an attorney who understands what works best for parents, children, and families in general. Contact a Wheaton, IL family law attorney at Andrew Cores Family Law Group by calling 630-871-1002 for a free consultation. We are ready to work with you to develop an effective parenting plan that will meet your family’s needs.
If you have children and are getting a divorce, you will need to work together with the other parent on the allocation of parental responsibilities. Overall, this allocation requires deliberation upon four main facets of a child’s life and all of the parental duties associated with each area. While there could be other additional topics that the court and the parents might consider, these four cover most of the child’s needs.
What Categories Are Considered When Allocating Parental Responsibilities?
While custody decisions will determine the specifics of both parents’ time with their children, including differences in schedules based on holidays and vacations, there are also some other subjects that need to be discussed throughout the process. Specifically, when allocating parental responsibilities, all parties involved must consider responsibilities for these four main categories, the particular elements of which would be further detailed in the parenting plan:
Education—This involves everything regarding the child’s schooling, such as:
Which school to attend and how major education decisions will be determined
Who transports the child to and from school, when, and how often
Who will pay for what amount/portion of the child’s educational costs, including school enrollment fees, private school tuition, and the costs of books or school supplies
What to do if a child faces disciplinary action in school
What to do if a child has an emergency at school
What to do if a child needs parental permission/approval for specific school-related activities or events
The child’s meals at school (who will make them, who will provide money for them, etc.)
Health—This category has everything to do with your child’s healthcare and medical needs. Among the responsibilities determined in this category are:
Who will pay for the child’s medical expenses and whose insurance will cover such expenses
Which doctors the child will see
Who transports the child to and from doctor’s appointments/procedures/treatments, when, and how often
Who will ensure the child is taking his or her medicine and receiving any treatments as prescribed by doctors
Who will monitor the child’s medical conditions, when, and how often (if any such conditions exist)
How major medical decisions will be determined, including when faced with a medical emergency
How the child’s food and nutrition will be provided for
How the child’s exercise needs will be met
Religion—This covers the religious needs of the child, if any. In particular, it deals with:
What religion the child will be raised in and how that determination is made and reinforced
Who transports the child to and from church services or other religious events, when, and how often
Whether the child will engage in prayer, bible study, or any other religious activities outside of his or her place of worship, where, when, how often, and who is responsible for adherence to these religious plans and needs
Extracurricular Activities—This includes everything your child does outside of school, including:
Who transports the child to and from social events/activities with friends, when, and how often
How engagement in athletics/sports is determined, including who transports the child to and from practice or sporting events, how often, and when
Assistance with any other needs—financial or otherwise—regarding other clubs, groups, organizations, etc. that the child participates in outside of school
Contact a Wheaton Divorce Attorney
If you need to figure out how to address the allocation of your responsibilities as a parent, call a DuPage County child custody lawyer at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation. With the help of the skilled attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group, you will be able to create a parenting plan that fairly assigns parental duties between you and your ex-spouse.