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Chicago Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > Did You Know that a Judge Can’t Finalize Your Divorce in these States if You’re Pregnant?

Did You Know that a Judge Can’t Finalize Your Divorce in these States if You’re Pregnant?


A democratic legislator in Missouri is making headlines this week for her efforts to do away with an antiquated and sexist state law that prevents females who are pregnant from finalizing divorce proceedings. According to national news reports, Representative Ashley Aune, of Missouri’s District 14, Platte County, introduced a bill into the state legislature this legislative season that would combat the state’s law that prevents pregnant women from getting a divorce. As it stands now, in Missouri, Missouri state judges who preside over divorce proceedings cannot legally enter a divorce order finalizing the divorce if a woman subject to the divorce proceedings is pregnant. The rationale behind the outdated law is summed up by Matthew Huffman, who works with the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence as, “the current law comes down to two things: paternity and not wanting a child to be born without a determined father along with child custody.” Huffman says of Representative Aune’s proposed bill, “This legislation could literally save lives…[f]or abusive partners, they might be using reproductive coercion and control to keep their partner pregnant so they can’t ever be granted a divorce.”

Representative Aune cites her community as her motivation for introducing and pressing the bill forward in the Missouri state legislature. The state legislator noted, “This is something that was brought to me by folks in my community who shared that it was a huge problem.” Representative Aune recounted testimony provided by a woman in support of the bill in a committee meeting, “Not only was she being physically and emotionally abused but there was reproductive coercion used. When she found out she was pregnant and asked her lawyer if she could get a divorce, she was essentially told no. It was so demoralizing for her to hear that. She felt that she had no options.”

In addition to the anecdotal evidence of the current law’s consequences, a recent report from the Missouri State Department of Health and Senior Services revealed that 5% of women surveyed between 2007 and 2014 were abused before or during their pregnancy.

Help for Individuals Seeking a Divorce in Chicago

In addition to Missouri, there are three other states that have versions of laws on the books that prevent pregnant women from divorcing their spouses. Those states are Arizona, Arkansas, and Texas. Fortunately, in Chicago, there is no law that prevents a pregnant woman from exercising her freedom to get a divorce.

No one should have to go through the Chicago divorce process alone. If you are seeking a divorce in Chicago and you need legal help, contact the experienced Chicago divorce lawyers at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC. The experienced Chicago divorce lawyers at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC are here to help individuals in Chicago with their Chicago divorce cases. Contact the law firm of Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC today and speak with an experienced Chicago divorce lawyer about your rights and options now.



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