If you’re expecting, especially if it’s your first child (and even if it’s not), you’re experiencing a lot of emotions. You’ve probably heard of it (or even experienced it) before; you know what they say about the pregnancy brain! You’re feeling all the feels, and you’re a little extra emotional, and if you add to that the stress of wondering whether your relationship is going to last, you’ve got a pretty crazy combination.
Whether you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant or you’re about ready to give birth, you’re not alone. You’re not the first person to experience this. Even though it’s scary and overwhelming, it’s not the end of the world.
Before you get all bent out of shape wondering about all the possible “what if’s?” involved in your case, take a deep breath. Just like with anything else, a little pre planning now can save you a lot of anxiety and heartache later.
If you’re worried about custody
Any new mom has a little (or a whole heck of a lot) of mad momma bear inside her, just waiting for an opportunity to strike. Thinking about anyone – even your child’s father – coming between you and that sweet new baby is enough to make your blood boil. Of course, like any mother, you’d do anything to protect your child, but you’re wondering, now, what on earth you’re going to do come your new baby’s birthday. Will he be able to take your child? Keep him or her overnight? Even possibly win custody?
I think the best place to start, first of all, is with a dose of reality. Is your child’s father the type that will fight you for custody? You know him better than I do, and you’re in the best position to judge whether he’s actually going to fight for the child or not. Are you worried because you know he’s the type of person to fight you tooth and nail over every single little decision, or are you worried just because it’s a deep rooted fear? Think about the type of guy he is, and the decisions he has made in the past.
Just because he’s saying he’s going to fight you doesn’t mean he will, either. Judge based on his previous behavior. Keep in mind that, if you’re thinking of splitting up now, tensions are probably fairly high anyway. A lot of times, even when things seem fairly contentious, when it comes down to it, the parties simmer down fairly quickly. Sometimes, they reach a formal agreement together regarding how to share custody (which can be done with or without attorneys, in court or outside of court); other times, they just make decisions as they go along without a specific custody agreement ever being drafted.
Chances are, he either (1) won’t fight you on custody, or (2) you’ll be able to reach an agreement or just works things out as you go along. Very few cases develop into full blown custody cases. If that’s what’s keeping you lying awake at night (though I understand your concern), you’re probably better off relaxing a little bit.
Not ready to give it up just yet? If you want more information about custody cases, just so that you can begin to think about the law and how it works in Virginia, you’re definitely in the right place.
The Women’s Custody Survival Guide was written by attorney Kristen Hofheimer, and covers pretty much everything you need to know about custody cases in Virginia, including how custody is determined (for initial determinations and modifications), what the ten all important best interests of the child factors are, what the different types of custody are and what different visitation schedules can look like, how special factors affect custody (like breastfeeding, special needs children, homeschooling, and same sex parents), and lots more. If you’d like a copy of the book, request it for free by clicking here.
Custody Bootcamp for Moms is an intense, all day custody seminar designed to teach Virginia moms all about the way custody, visitation, and support cases work at the juvenile court level. Whether you’re planning on representing yourself in a custody case, you want to brush up on the law, or you want to check up on the custody attorney you’re already working with, Custody Bootcamp for Moms is a great place to start. For more information, or to request a free copy of our report, “Can I REALLY Represent Myself in a Custody Case?” click here.
If you’re worried about divorce
If you and your child’s father were never married, you don’t have to worry about divorce. As far as you’re concerned, the only issues that can come up are custody, visitation, and support. Whether you and your child’s father split up or stay together, it’s entirely up to you, and there’s very little likelihood that the court will be involved (unless, God forbid, there’s a protective order or other issue pending).
If you and your child’s father are married, and you’re thinking about separating, that’s okay. You’re certainly not the first!
If you’re thinking about divorce, now is definitely a good time to begin gathering information, so that you can start to plan your next steps. Planning—and figuring out how to overcome any potential upcoming obstacles that you might face—can go a long way towards helping you deal with the transition.
What Every Virginia Woman Needs to Know About Divorce is our divorce book, written by Charlie Hofheimer. It covers what you need to know about the divorce process in Virginia, including how fault and no fault work, how to file for divorce, how to live separate and apart under the same roof, questions to ask an attorney in an initial appointment, and more. To request a free copy of our book, click here.
Once you’ve read the book, you might want to consider one of our divorce seminars, too! Though we affectionately refer to them as our “Second Saturday” seminars (because that’s when we teach them—on the Second Saturday, and also the Third Tuesday, of each month), they’re also named after the book: “What Every Virginia Woman Needs to Know About Divorce.” Each seminar is taught by one of our licensed and experienced Virginia divorce attorneys, and gives attendees an opportunity to ask their questions. For more information about the seminar, click here.
Being pregnant and worrying about divorce and custody isn’t the end of the world. After all, you’re in the right place, and you’re already asking the right questions. By the time the baby is here, you’ll have had a chance to figure out your next steps, so that you can make the best choice for you and your son or daughter.
I definitely wish you the best of luck! Let us know if you have any questions, need help getting a copy of our book or admission to one of our seminars, or would like to go ahead and schedule a consultation with one of our licensed and experienced Virginia divorce and custody attorneys. Give us a call at (757) 425-5200. We look forward to talking to you soon!