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What you need to know about remarrying after divorce

There are no "universal laws" regarding remarriage. Each state has its own requirements and varying timelines. If you’re considering remarriage after a divorce, your first step should be to consult your divorce attorney and find out how it may have legal bearings on your particular case. You should also familiarize yourself with any available options for remarrying.

Playing the waiting game

It might seem like an inalienable right, but remarrying after a divorce can be a legal minefield if you’re not careful. For instance, in Alaska, Arkansas, and Connecticut, there are no restrictions on remarriage. Other states, such as Texas, require a 30 day waiting period before you can remarry. Before you can remarry in Michigan, the divorce decree must be final. In Mississippi, there could be a waiting period set forth by the court if you are accused of adultery. And in Nebraska, you’ll have to wait six months after the divorce decree. Failure to adhere to these waiting periods could make your new marriage invalid.

You will want to research whether your state has a waiting period for remarriage after divorce. In some cases, you might find it easier to wait it out rather than try to speed up the process, especially when you consider that it can be much simpler to just wait a few months.

Trying to marry in another state

Some states, including Alaska and Arizona, don’t have a "cooling off" period to be concerned with. However, you shouldn't think of this as an opportunity to go state hopping for a marriage license. In many cases, this could render your new marriage void. It’s important to closely examine your state’s laws before deciding to remarry. Whether for love or because of extenuating circumstances, a couple might desire to marry immediately. But you have to remember, this is rarely realistic, and is often not a legal solution.

Child support

Many divorces are complicated by the addition of children into the equation. Since the parents are responsible for the children even after the divorce, a spouse is typically responsible for paying child support to his ex. Even if you remarry, your spouse still carries the responsibility of paying child support in most states, as the stepfather is not legally responsible for his stepchildren.

While there have been some cases where the spouse paying child support is financially strained and the stepparent decides to take on the responsibility, such narratives are rare. In some states, such as Illinois, the stepparent’s income can be examined if it has direct bearing on the welfare of the children. But in general, the remarriage of either spouse rarely affects the child support obligation.

Alimony

If the judge has granted a certain amount of alimony to be paid to a spouse, remarrying has the potential to end those payments. That said, this isn't necessarily automatic -- you might need to obtain an order terminating a wage assignment. The spousal support payment relies upon the idea that a standard of living is to be maintained. But in most cases, the alimony is contingent upon the spouse remaining single (and financially unstable). A situation of cohabitation, new real estate, joint debts, or new bank accounts can reverse the alimony judgment. Consult with an attorney if you have discovered that your ex is cohabiting with a new significant other.

Timing

Obviously, some things just aren't planned, including falling in love right after divorce. But remarriages happen all the time, and if you’re considering entering another marriage, the most important thing is making sure the decision is taken seriously. A careful examination of your state’s laws and statutes, coupled with sound legal advice, can potentially put you on solid footing. Bottom line: remarrying after a divorce is all about timing. Once you figure that out, the rest is up to you.

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