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More Fun in HawleyLand

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) gestures toward a crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory Jan. 6, 2021 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Some demonstrators later breached security and stormed the Capitol. (Francis Chung/E&E News and Politico via AP Images)

Oh that’s great Missouri. Just great.

December 2020 was a turbulent month for Danielle Drake, 32, of Lake of the Ozarks. On December 1, her husband said he was going out with a friend, but he lied. He was actually having an affair. She filed for a divorce less than a week later, on December 7.Then, not long before Christmas, Drake found out she was pregnant.Drake knew immediately she had to file a second, amended petition for divorce. She also knew the impact her pregnancy would have on the divorce proceedings. Drake, who earned a law degree from University of Missouri Kansas City has been practicing family law for two years, was well aware that in Missouri, women who are pregnant can’t get a divorce.

Missouri law states that a petition for divorce must  provide eight pieces of information, things like the residence of each party, the date of separation, and, notably, “whether the wife is pregnant.” If the answer is yes, Drake says, “What that practically does is put your case on hold.”

There is a lot of disagreement online about whether pregnant Missouri women can get divorced. The RFT spoke to multiple lawyers who handle divorce proceedings and they all agreed that in Missouri a divorce can’t be finalized if either the petitioner (the person who files for divorce) or the respondent (the other party in the divorce) is pregnant.

Dan Mizell, an attorney in Lebanon, Missouri, who has been practicing law since 1997, says that certain aspects of the divorce can proceed, but everything having to do with custody of the unborn child is frozen in place until birth or a pregnancy-ending event like a miscarriage. The court can issue temporary orders related to things like dividing up property, Mizell says. “But they can’t do a final decree of divorce until she delivers the baby.”

Drake says that this is true even in the case of a divorce that is completely uncontested. “If the couple is not fighting, and they’re just saying, ‘Nope, she’s gonna take the baby and 100 percent of the things’ they still cannot go before a judge and have that finalized until after there’s a baby born,” she says.

I can see no ways this will be used to force by misogynist asshole husbands to force their soon to be ex-wives to be saddled with a baby as revenge.

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