If you are trying to obtain a quick and easy uncontested divorce in Alabama and you or your spouse is currently pregnant, then this will usually mean that your divorce might not be that simple. Whether you can get a divorce without having to go to hearings and trials depends on various factors. In Alabama, if a child is born during the marriage (meaning that the child is born while you, the husband, are still married to the mother then the husband is presumed to be the legal father of the child, whether he is the biological father or not. There are various court processes to go through to remove the legal status of father from the husband, but if a biological father cannot be found or is uncooperative, then it can be a difficult process to do so. If the biological father can be found and is willing to step into the shoes of the husband or legal father, then this is possible and a judge in your divorce will likely do this once paternity tests have been performed on all parties.
If there is no biological father to step in and take the place of the husband as the legal father, then sometimes judges can be hesitant to remove the status of legal father from the husband since this would leave the child with no father at all. When the wife is pregnant and both parties are seeking a divorce, it can be one of the most complicated and difficult divorces possible, but how complicated depends on how cooperative all parties, including the biological father, are once the child is actually born. There are several possible scenarios that I will go over and try my best to explain these hypothetical situations as clearly as possible.
The first possible scenario, is if the husband is the biological father of the unborn child, this is not disputed between both spouses, and he is going to pay to the mother child support (assuming that she is going to have physical custody with the father having visitation rights of some sort) then an agreement would likely be approved by the Court. However, most judges in Alabama will not sign your divorce decree until the child is actually born, at which point the spouse is no longer pregnant and all documents may need to be changed. So, if the husband is the undisputed biological father of the minor child, then if you wait until the child is born to fill out and file your uncontested divorce documents, then it will just add another child to the paperwork and, as long as it is filed after the child is born, you should be able to file an uncontested divorce without any issues. However, if you wish to file it before the child is born you can, but you will probably not receive your divorce decree until the child is actually born and will likely have to amend your documents that you already signed all over again at that point and refile them with the Court.
Second possible scenario, is if the biological father is not the husband. In this case too, it is best to wait until the child is born since the court will not sign your divorce decree until the birth of the child. When the child is born, if the mother is still married to the husband, then the husband is considered to be the legal father of the child whether he is the biological father or not. This basically means that in the eyes of the law and the State of Alabama, he is the father. Now, there are processes for the biological father and/or the legal father (husband) to go through to try to change the legal status of both parties, but this requires hearings and trials before a judge.
Many times, if the biological father is cooperating and the husband does not want to be considered the legal father, then a divorce may be filed at the time of the birth and all parties can submit to DNA testing to determine that the husband is not the legal father, and at a hearing the Judge will likely impute the status of the legal father from the husband to the biological father if all parties are cooperative and in agreement. If parties are not in agreement or available to appear at hearings or have DNA testing performed, then it is likely that the husband will remain the legal father unless there are other circumstances that merit otherwise. This can mean that the legal father that is not the biological father might still be ordered to pay child support, at a potential hearing after the child is born, depending on the fact situation of all parties involved.
These are just two possible scenarios and what can happen in the Alabama courts. When one party is pregnant at the time of divorce and the husband does not want to be the legal father of the child for whatever reasons, this can be a long process with multiple hearings depending on how cooperative all parties involved are. How lengthy and difficult the divorce process is also depends on whether the husband is the biological father or not and, if not, whether the biological father is cooperative in the divorce process.
If you or your spouse is pregnant, but are in agreement and either the husband is the biological father or whoever is the biological father is cooperative, then an uncontested divorce is possible, but it will likely involve a hearing or two and our low discounted price for uncontested divorces with children is not going to be available. If everyone is not in agreement or cooperative, then it is likely going to be fairly expensive to file for divorce while pregnant or even after the child is born due to issues that must be litigated or otherwise decided by the judge in your case.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, probate, and real estate closings on this website. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply feedback. We appreciate our readers & love to hear from you!