Having a baby on the way does not automatically fix whatever problems may already exist in your marriage. In some cases, the stress associated with pregnancy may even make the existing issues worse. If you are pregnant and do not feel that your marriage is sustainable for the long term, you may wonder if you can start the divorce process now or if you have to wait until after the baby’s birth.

While some states do not allow pregnant women to seek divorce, Ohio is one of the majority of states that do. Divorce during pregnancy can be difficult, but Parents Magazine offers some ideas on how to make it easier.

Try couples counseling

If your marriage is still salvageable, couples counseling can help you and your spouse determine how to make it work. However, even if divorce is inevitable, counseling can help both of you manage your emotions in a healthy way and set the groundwork for cooperation on matters of co-parenting, which will arise shortly.

Create a shared parenting plan

Divorcing while pregnant does not mean that you can exclude the other parent. Your soon-to-be ex-spouse has the right to involvement in the child’s life, and the child has the right to a relationship with both parents. You and your spouse should work out a plan that works well for both of you.

Bear in mind, however, that this plan may require modification as the child grows. For example, overnight visits may not be practical at first, particularly if you are breastfeeding the new baby. Eventually, however, this may be not only feasible but also beneficial for both the other parent and the child.

Establish a support system

It is always important to have the help and encouragement of family and friends during a divorce, but you will need it even more during and after your pregnancy. Determine who in your circle of family and friends you can count on for support, and do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it.