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Does Texas law forbid a pregnant woman from getting divorced?

Earlier this year, a post on Twitter that went viral claimed that a handful of states, including Texas, do not let a pregnant woman get divorced. To many, this seemed like an invasion of women’s rights to seek an end to their marriage — and a law they did not realize was on the books.

But is it true? Not exactly. But finalizing your divorce could take longer than it normally would if you happen to be pregnant.

Not the law, but common practice

As WUSA explains, no statute forbids divorce in cases where one of the spouses is pregnant. However, family court judges often choose to delay signing off on the divorce order until the baby is born. State law presumes that a man who is married to the mother of a child or who terminated the marriage within 300 days of the birth is the baby’s biological father. Even still, the judge may want to wait to see if there are complications in delivery, such as premature birth, that could affect how much child support the baby will need.

Is it fair?

This could be an important point. But it could mean your divorce has been totally settled but you must stay married for several months. From the mother’s perspective, this could be more than an inconvenience. If their spouse is abusive, she and the baby could be in danger. Even if domestic violence is not an issue, delaying a divorce because of one spouse’s pregnancy status can put both parties’ lives on hold for a long time.

Still, pregnancy should not be the reason you put off filing for divorce if your relationship with your spouse is broken beyond repair. You and your attorney can work together to minimize delays and ensure that your baby will be born into a financially stable and loving environment.

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