Getting a Divorce While Pregnant | What States Allow It

When you or your ex is pregnant, you're allowed to seek — or continue seeking — a divorce. However, the court process may take longer, as the court needs to know who the baby's other parent is and how they'll help care for or financially support the baby.

If this is your first child, the experience of putting a child's needs first may be new to you. Understand that your divorce may take longer because it isn't only about your feelings and aspirations, but about your baby's best interests. Your life is about to change in big ways.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

Make My Parenting Plan

Can you get divorced while pregnant?

Either spouse may file for divorce while one of you is pregnant. This starts the process.

Depending on where you live, you may not be able to finalize the divorce until the baby is born.

Why do many courts make you wait? Here are some reasons:

  • Especially when a couple is divorcing, they may have other intimate partners. A pregnancy at this time might have unclear paternity, and the court may require a DNA test of the baby after it's born.
  • The court may not believe it's urgent to order a newborn visitation schedule before there's a baby to visit. In the meantime, one parent could move a long distance, and then they'd need a different visitation arrangement.
  • Many spouses decide to make their marriage work for the sake of a baby. If the court fast-tracked divorces during pregnancy, some parents might rush into divorce and then remarry each other.
  • If the baby is born to a newly divorced parent, the parent is likelier to qualify for public assistance. The state wants the baby to be born to married parents to make it easier to hold them both financially accountable for the child.
  • The court wants to avoid ordering child support before there's a child to support. If parents lose or gain jobs, the support amount will have to be recalculated.
  • The court needs to know if the baby is born with an illness, disability or other condition that requires extra parental attention or generates high doctor bills.
  • You could be surprised with twins.
  • If there's a concern about your fitness to parent, the judge may appoint a custody evaluator or social worker to observe you with the child.
  • A home visit by a social worker can verify that the child exists and lives in the state.
  • Generally, courts don't have authority to make orders affecting unborn babies. Once a baby is born, it's legally a person and a state resident.

What states allow divorce while pregnant?

In some states, the court won't finalize a divorce until the baby is born. This is true in California, Texas, Florida and Mississippi, as a few examples.

Other states may let you finalize a divorce while pregnant. In New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington, and Massachusetts, the judge may finalize the divorce before the baby comes. You'll likely have to return to court to decide parenting issues after the baby is born. Similarly, in Michigan, it's up to the judge whether to allow you to finalize the divorce before the birth and address parenting issues later.

Learn about child custody laws in your area: Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA.

Divorce while pregnant: Tips

You can draft your parenting plan while you're still pregnant. You may need to make additional proposals after the baby is born, but don't let that stop you from planning ahead.

It's OK to let your case lie dormant. While you await the birth, you won't hear from the court much if it doesn't need anything and you don't have urgent issues. Filing unnecessary motions will only result in extra fees and bills.

Stay patient. Having an unresolved court case and anticipating a new baby can both be stressful. Don't add to your anxiety by worrying about the speed of the divorce. Eventually, it will come through.

Lying about pregnancy during divorce

Lying doesn't go over well with spouses or exes, and it doesn't go over well with judges either. Show that you're serious about getting divorced in a respectful way and that you're ready to be a parent.

Disclose your pregnancy to your ex

If you're pregnant and you're on speaking terms with your ex, you'll likely want to tell them about the pregnancy promptly. They don't want to find out about it from lawyers, court clerks or official documents, nor from friends, family or social media. Show them respect by telling them personally. This is especially important if they're the child's other parent.

As much as your relationship allows, try to be diplomatic and empathetic. Your ex may have hurt feelings, confusion or stress about this pregnancy. Upsetting them needlessly might bounce back to make the divorce less pleasant for you as well.

To avoid speculation, take a reliable pregnancy test. Talk to your doctor when you can.

A couples counselor, divorce mediator or divorce coach may help you break the news to your ex.

Disclose to the court that this is a divorce during pregnancy

Many states distinguish the statuses of "without children" and "with children" as entirely different types of divorce.

When spouses don't have children together, their divorce can often be handled quickly because there aren't any issues related to parenting.

If one of you is pregnant with your first child together, your divorce will likely be considered "with children" because you'll have to make a plan for how you'll parent this child.

For example, when you file for divorce while pregnant in Florida, you'll use their Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with Dependent or Minor Child(ren) (PDF). It asks whether the petitioner or respondent (or both) are pregnant, and if so, what your due dates are. Similarly, in Alaska, you'll use their Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (With Children) (PDF). It asks whether either of you is pregnant and, if so, to "include arrangements for this child."

Some people conceive after they file for divorce. In Connecticut, if you've filed a Joint Petition for Nonadversarial Divorce (PDF) and then discover that one of you is pregnant, you'll file a Notice of Changed Condition (PDF).

Regardless of when the conception occurred or who the biological father may be, let the court know in a timely manner. A pregnancy introduces important new facts to your case, and the judge may need to reexamine paternity and child support.

Getting a divorce while pregnant by someone else

There are a number of reasons you might be pregnant by someone other than your spouse. For example, you might have had fertility assistance with donor DNA.

If you had an affair, those emotional issues might affect your divorce. Don't expect your divorce to be fast if any of your divorce issues are connected to the pregnancy — for example, if the husband is upset that someone else may be the biological father. In that situation, the judge may decide not to finalize the divorce until the child is born so that your parenting issues can be resolved together with your pregnancy-related divorce complaint.

Your divorce may also be delayed if the baby's biological father can't be found or isn't cooperating.

Preparing for a divorce while pregnant

Preparation is the most important part of the divorce process — especially if you or your spouse is pregnant.

Some documents you might file as evidence in a divorce while pregnant:

The Custody X Change online app lets you create all of these in one place. It makes sure you're ready to take on the divorce process step-by-step.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

Make My Parenting Plan

Explore examples of common schedules

Explore common schedules

Join the 60,000+ other parents who have used our co-parenting tools

Organize your evidence

Track your expenses, journal what happens, and record actual time. Print organized, professional documents.

Co-parent civilly

Our parent-to-parent messaging system, which detects hostile language, lets you collaborate without the drama.

Get an accurate child support order

Child support is based on parenting time or overnights in most jurisdictions. Calculate time instead of estimating.

Succeed by negotiating

Explore options together with visual calendars and detailed parenting plans. Present alternatives and reach agreement.

Never forget an exchange or activity

Get push notifications and email reminders, sync with other calendar apps and share with the other parent.

Save up to $50,000 by avoiding court

Write your parenting agreement without lawyers. Our templates walk you through each step.

Make My Plan



Long distance schedules

Third party schedules


Summer break

Parenting provisions


How to make a schedule

Factors to consider

Parenting plans:

Making a parenting plan

Changing your plan

Interstate, long distance

Temporary plans

Guides by location:

Parenting plans

Scheduling guidelines

Child support calculators

Age guidelines:

Birth to 18 months

18 months to 3 years

3 to 5 years

5 to 13 years

13 to 18 years


Joint physical custody

Sole physical custody

Joint legal custody

Sole legal custody

Product features:

Software overview

Printable calendars

Parenting plan templates

Journal what happens

Expense sharing

Parenting time tracking

Calculate time & overnights

Ways to use:

Succeed by negotiating

Prepare for mediation

Get ready for court


Bring calm to co‑parenting. Agree on a schedule and plan. Be prepared with everything documented.

Make My Parenting Plan

No thanks, I don't need a parenting plan