Filing a divorce is a serious and often, stressful decision to make. Adding pregnancy to the mix makes an already difficult situation far more complicated.
If you are an expectant mother going through a divorce, there is a lot you will be going through. Besides the difficult emotions and dealing with the complicated legal work, there is the added stress on your body, which is going through changes.
It is essential for you to take care of your mental and physical health during this phase of your life and focus on positive outcomes. Here are a few tips to help you with that.
1. Check your state’s laws on divorce during pregnancy
Before you begin your search for a good lawyer, counseling, or figuring out the court process – all of which is stressful – check if your state allows divorce during pregnancy.
Does your state allow divorce during pregnancy?
Divorce during pregnancy is a non-issue in most states, however, some states such as Arkansas, Arizona, Texas, and Missouri do not allow divorce until the baby is born.
Although it might seem unfair not to allow unhappy partners to get divorced, prohibiting divorce during pregnancy makes it easier to have a complete custody and settlement agreement done after the child and born. That way, partners can now part ways with a complete agreement on how the child or children will be raised.
However, even if your state doesn’t allow divorce during pregnancy, you can still get the ball rolling by getting a legal separation. Speak to divorce experts on the potential of hidden assets and let them uncover them during the divorce process.
2. Emotional support by friends and family
Going through a divorce while pregnant is likely to be an emotional and physical roller coaster of mood swings, food cravings, doctor visits, uncertainty about your child’s future, and other strong emotions.
The ensuing stress can cause adverse effects on your mental and physical health, not to mention that of your unborn baby.
Seeking support can help you go through this period in a healthy way. Choose a friend or family member you can trust and share with them your situation. Having a friend who will listen to you will help you ward off any negative thoughts, have someone you can bounce ideas off and give you comfort when the going gets tough.
- Professional counseling
Whether or not it will save your marriage, going for counseling is very helpful for couples thinking or going through a divorce. Counseling helps you work through your problems as a couple, identifies unhealthy patterns, and helps you to see the bigger picture of raising up your child together.
Successfully raising a child together- even if it’s through co-parenting – requires both of you to better manage your issues, and couples or individual counseling goes a long way in helping you to work on yourself and consequently, achieve better relationships.
4. Sort out your financials
Being a single parent is not only tough but it can also be financially demanding. From trying to provide the best postpartum care to decorating your baby’s nursery, to buying all the stuff that a new baby needs, your finances can take a hit. Throw in unpaid maternity leave for some new mothers, and childcare costs when you are finally ready to go back to work, and the costs can skyrocket.
Take care of your current savings and get a financial consultant or a divorce attorney to help you develop a suitable plan for your child’s support and maintenance.
Start by listing your current earnings and any anticipated income in the future, review your tax returns, and have a household budget ready. You should also determine how you’ll manage expenses such as childcare and education as your child grows up.
Some other questions you need to answer are how long you are willing to be on maternity leave and whether you are going to continue working or will take a sabbatical leave. Answering these questions will help you understand and plan your cash flow for a better future for both you and your little one.
5. Create a co-parenting plan
As parents-to-be, it is important to keep put issues aside and come up with a co-parenting plan that works for you. Since both of you will be involved in the child’s upbringing, having a plan will help make the process of visitations and custody much smoother. However, if you find it difficult to develop a co-parenting plan with your ex-spouse, consider engaging a counselor or mediator to help you out.
Going through a divorce when pregnant can amplify your anxiety. The excitement of expecting a baby may be diminished and get overshadowed by mixed emotions, and stress that a divorce can bring. Follow these steps to take charge of your situation, get a plan going, and figure out how to be the best parent you can be.