Your life doesn’t end just because your relationship comes to an end. You will still hit major milestones. You will have new relationships. Sometimes, those relationships will get serious. You might even have another child. Whether or not you are still married to your first spouse, this child will change everything. If you are divorced – or getting divorced – one of your first concerns might be about the custody of your other children. You might believe that getting pregnant will say something negative about you. You might even think that it will hurt your chances of having custody. Fortunately, the truth is far more complicated.
First and foremost, there is no law that says a pregnant woman is incapable of caring for a child. It turns out that the court doesn’t care much about the paternity of a child, except for how it will impact the child. As such, you won’t lose custody just because you are pregnant. This is considered a fairly normal part of life, and the courts don’t like to get involved when they don’t have to. If you are in a relationship with another person and you have his child, you don’t have to worry that this will automatically change your custody status.
Your fear might be based on the fact that you are pregnant by another person while you are still married. While there’s certainly a great deal of social stigma against this happening, there’s no real legal stigma here. While it might play a huge role in your divorce and how things shake out financially, there’s nothing particularly relevant here about custody. While some may say that it says something about your character, the law doesn’t judge here. The law is really only concerned with the atmosphere in which your child will be raised.
This is where things become a bit more complicated. Getting pregnant does create a major life change, and there are some issues regarding pregnancy that can cause an issue with your custody arrangement. First and foremost, there’s the fact that you are bringing another person into your life. Will caring for this child adversely impact your ability to care for your current children? Will it make housing more difficult? Will it somehow make life more dangerous for your children? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it is very possible that the court will make a change in your custody arrangement. After all, the court’s goal is to make sure the interest of your children is protected.
There are also issues that can surround the person with whom you are having the child. He will be subjected to the same sort of scrutiny by the courts that you are subjected to. If he engages in any behaviors that can cause danger to you or your child, it may negatively impact your custody arrangements. There are definitely issues that can arise when you bring another person into your relationship, so you and he both need to be prepared. The good news, though, is that there is no presumption that merely fathering a child with you makes someone a danger to your children.
Getting pregnant again will likely not make a huge impact on your custody. As long as you can still provide a safe environment for your children, things will likely stay the same for you and your children. You are going through major life changes and you shouldn’t have to worry too much about your custody arrangement. If you are experiencing a change, though, you should speak with your attorney. It’s important that you are prepared for any challenges to your custody agreement. After all, it doesn’t matter if you are in the right – your former spouse can still bring a challenge, and being prepared for that challenge is the way to make sure that you don’t unduly interrupt the lives of your children.