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What unique issues do you face in divorce if you are pregnant?

Deciding to divorce can be a frightening and daunting decision. After all, not many people want to think about ending their marriage—especially if they are pregnant. 

This is a reality for many people. Going through a divorce is hard enough, and it can be difficult to manage when someone is expecting a baby. However, in many cases, pregnancy can make divorce even more complex. So, here are some essential things that Kentuckians must know in these situations.

1. Kentucky courts might be able to delay your divorce

The commonwealth of Kentucky has a unique statute regarding this issue. It gives family courts the ability to postpone divorce proceedings if one spouse is pregnant when they file for divorce.

It is critical to note that this statute does not prevent a divorce. It simply puts it on hold until the pregnancy is over. This statute primarily exists to protect the child's best interests and ensure they have two legal parents at the time of their birth. 

If the parents do wish to pursue a divorce, they will likely have to obtain certain permissions and affidavits to move forward. It might be helpful to consult a family law attorney if individuals want to proceed with a divorce during pregnancy.

2. There might be challenges regarding child custody

Individuals can still pursue a divorce, regardless of pregnancy. However, new parents who divorce should keep in mind that they might face several challenges when trying to determine a custody agreement.

Joint custody is the default agreement under Kentucky law. Therefore, divorced parents with a new child will likely share joint custody in most circumstances.

However, courts will consider other factors when determining custody, such as:

  • The physical and mental health of each parent
  • The financial ability of each parent to care for the child
  • How suitable each parent's living conditions are
  • If there is a history of substance abuse or domestic violence

3. Fathers may have to establish paternity

In relation to the child custody issues in these situations, it might be necessary for fathers to establish paternity. Essentially, individuals may have to prove they are the father of the child to maintain specific parental rights, including:

  • The right to be present at the birth of the child
  • Their custody and visitation rights
  • The legal parent-child relationship with the child

This is not always required, but it is often helpful to protect both a father's parental rights, as well as many future rights and benefits of the child.

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