You are divorced and you swore you would never marry again. But then time passes and you fall in love and this new mate seems really great. Should you just cohabitate for the rest of your life so as to avoid another divorce?
Or is there something you can do to ensure that you do not repeat past mistakes while still enjoying what is sweet about being together? Here are some legal tips for remarriage that may help you avoid trouble down the line.
Once Burned, Twice Shy
- Make a list and check it twice: Make a list of issues in your previous marriage that impacted your divorce. Were there problems with financial support in your last marriage? Were there expectations that you could not meet or did not agree with? Write it all down and take them up with a potential spouse before you set a wedding date
- Consider a prenuptial agreement: Whatever issues your list yields, discuss those with your true love and see if you can come up with an arrangement in advance of tying the knot. Prenuptial agreements exist to protect both parties and are not a kind of punishment, although some may see it that way. If your boo refuses to discuss it, you may have just uncovered a snafu that can't be ignored (and possibly signals your next divorce).
- Sort out your divorce: You must be aware that if you do receive support from a former spouse, remarrying will impact that. If you have children and get child support, remarrying will not impact this because both parents must continue to care for their kids. But spouses receiving support should be very wary before making any decisions about marriage that could leave them financially stranded. You must discuss this issue with a potential spouse. Similarly, older people must ensure that remarriage does not negatively impact social security benefits.
- Meet with an attorney alone: Before you make any drastic moves or decide what to do about your current situation, meet with an attorney. You should do this alone the first time, and see if your lawyer can provide solutions tailored to your precise concerns and needs. Even if you don't want to see marriage as a business deal, your divorce certainly showed that it is a legal contract. So go get guidance on this deal.
Consult With Counsel
A lawyer can help you sort through divorce and remarriage issues, and make you aware of any potential problems you don't see because you're in love. Remarriage is relatively common -- after all, the problem was your ex, not you, right? -- so don't be deterred because you've been burned in love once. But do get help. Consult with an attorney.
- I'm Getting Remarried Next Week ... and Why I Almost Called It Off (Huffington Post)
- Spousal Support Basics (FindLaw)
- Alimony Guidelines: What Records to Keep (FindLaw)
- How to Avoid Money Marriage Problems (FindLaw)