Law says pregnant mothers in MO can’t get a divorce

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – Getting a divorce is already a painful process, but finding out you cannot finalize that process because you are pregnant makes it that much harder.

The issue in Missouri is that the courts have to wait until the child is born before being able to settle custody issues.

Brandon Cooper of Cooper Law Firm in Cape Girardeau explains this complicated situation in more detail.

“The courts can enter an order dissolving the marriage and retain jurisdiction over the parties until the mother gives birth to the child and then they can make findings as to what an appropriate custody and support award should be,” said Cooper.

The law stopping those who are pregnant from being able to finalize a divorce became law back in 1973. It’s now gaining new attention in light of recent overturning of Roe v. Wade.

With the decision from the Supreme Court, abortion is now banned in Missouri on the basis that life begins at conception. That has many saying the basis of the divorce law contradicts the abortion ban.

The American Pregnancy Association is defending the divorce law saying Missouri courts want to wait until the child is born to be able to confirm paternity and determine how to arrange custody of the child before finalizing the divorce.

“They’re protecting the unborn child’s interest,” said Cooper.

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