Headlines stating that Missouri women can’t get a divorce while pregnant sparked fear in many, but the social media posts don’t tell the whole story.

Under Missouri law, a pregnant woman can file for a divorce while pregnant, but it cannot be finalized without a custody agreement in place which can’t be completed until the child is born. If a woman is pregnant, the law recognizes the husband as the father. Issuing one judgment in a divorce proceeding streamlines the process by dealing with visitation rights from the beginning. In doing this, parents are also granted the opportunity to take a paternity test to ensure legal rights are given to the correct person.

The law garnered attention following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Other states, including Arkansas, Texas and Arizona, have similar laws.

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