There have been a lot of changes in laws related to pregnancy – and talk of even more in the future. That’s one reason social media was buzzing recently with news that five states, including Arkansas, don’t allow couples to divorce if one spouse is pregnant.
The fact is that there is nothing codified into law (at least not presently) in Arkansas or other states that specifically prohibits a couple from divorcing during a pregnancy. However, judges typically will not sign off on a final divorce decree until the baby is born – and that’s not actually new.
The reasons for this are largely practical. Putting a child custody agreement and child support order in place for a child who hasn’t yet arrived can be problematic. It really can’t be done until a baby is actually here. While expectant couples (whether they’re together or not) want and plan for a healthy baby, that’s not always the case. If a baby were to be born with serious medical issues, that could drastically affect any custody and support agreements already in place.
You can begin the process
This doesn’t mean that you have to wait until the baby is born to begin the process of divorce. You can negotiate property division, custody and support agreements or work on your case for seeking the agreement you believe is best if a judge is going to have to decide. You just can’t finalize the agreements or get your divorce decree. It’s also important to note that under Arkansas law, to get a no-fault divorce, a couple must live “separate and apart” for 18 months.
Every situation is different, but planning for divorce while also planning for a new baby is always going to be a complicated and anxious time. A good first step is to get experienced legal guidance to help you navigate it.