Divorce Laws During Pregnancy in Missouri

By Beverly Bird

Updated March 29, 2020

a caucasian mother holds her newborn baby while recovering in a hospital bed

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You might think that breaking up is the furthest thing from spouses' minds when they're expecting a baby. In fact, divorce rears its ugly head during pregnancy with enough frequency that some states – including Missouri – have special laws in place to deal with the situation.

The Divorce Petition

The Missouri Revised Statutes require that when you file a petition for divorce, you must divulge whether the wife is pregnant. This doesn't mean you can't file, but only that the court must know a baby is on the way.

Delay of Proceedings

If you and your spouse are expecting a child, a Missouri court will put your proceedings on hold until the baby is born. Your divorce cannot be finalized until this time. The court will order a paternity test if the husband thinks he is not the father, or order child support and custody terms as part of the divorce if he agrees that he is. If it turns out that someone else is the baby's father, that individual must be added to the divorce lawsuit as a third party.