My wife is pregnant and due in October. Things haven’t been good for a while. We’ve decided to divorce. This is our first child. I want to be fully involved in my child’s life. My wife is very angry right now and won’t allow me to attend the prenatal appointments. I’m worried that she is going to say that I can’t be in the delivery room or help name the baby. Will she be able to do this?
Yes. Until the baby is born, your wife is the patient and there is no way that you can challenge her right to exclude you from the prenatal appointments and the delivery room. As the patient, your wife has the legal right to privacy under the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The doctors and nurses also have incentive to avoid potentially unsafe and volatile situations in the delivery room. Your presence in the delivery room, against your wife’s wishes, may cause her additional stress during a vulnerable time.
You could, however, as the baby’s father, petition the Court for an order to keep you informed regarding all matters pertaining to the baby’s health, due date, birth date, and possibly even directing her to alert you when she goes into labor. This petition would need to be party of the divorce action.
You do have the right to visit with the child once the baby is born. Until the baby’s birth, however, your rights are subordinate to your wife’s rights to privacy.