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Rebounding After Divorce: 5 Essential Considerations

Rebounding After Divorce

Rebounding After Divorce: 5 Essential Considerations

Some people decide not to get married again after a divorce, especially if the divorce is brutal.  For others, remarriage feels like a chance to start over and try again after the previous marriage didn’t work out.  There are many things a divorced person who wants to remarry should consider, such as how it might affect their finances, their children, and even the wedding date.  They may also need a prenup before they say “I do” again. 

Make sure you can legally get married again by talking to a lawyer.

In Florida, you can remarry once the court enters the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.  On the other hand, in Massachusetts, you must wait 90 or 120 days.  If you get married again during this time, called the “nisi” period, your first marriage will not be valid.  So make sure your remarriage is legal by asking your lawyer when the nisi period ends.

How will getting remarried affect your kids, and how to talk to them about it?

There are a lot of blended families; most are happy and healthy.  A strong foundation for a happy blended family is based on honesty and openness with your children.  Your children are affected by your remarriage in a big way.  Take your kids thoughts and feelings into account.  When you get remarried, your kids may get a new step-parent or step-siblings.  They may also have to adjust to new routines and move to a new neighborhood or school.  Take your time.  Think carefully about how, when, and with whom you should have these talks.  Depending on how close you are to each child, it may make sense to talk to them all at once or one at a time.  It’s essential, to be honest about how your remarriage affects your children, listen to how they feel about it, and give them time to process and get used to it.  Timing can be critical in this situation, and it may be best to give them a few months to get used to the idea before making any fundamental changes to your home or place of residence.

Remember that a parent’s remarriage considerably affects a child’s day-to-day life, even though the child has no say in the matter and has no control over it, just like divorce.  Children often hope that their parents will get back together someday.  The news that a parent is getting remarried can also come as a big surprise and make the child feel sad, at least at first.  Depending on how you, your children, and your ex-spouse get along, you may need to tell or talk to your ex-spouse about your remarriage before talking to your children.  This is to ensure that the transition into a blended family goes as smoothly as possible.  If your relationship with your ex-spouse allows, make them a friend instead of an enemy to help your kids adjust to your new marriage.  How your child feels about your remarriage can be significantly affected by how your ex-spouse feels about it and what they say about it.

Think about how your finances will change if you get married again.

Alimony:

One important thing to think about is alimony, which ends automatically when the person who receives the alimony gets married again.  Consider this carefully if you cannot pay your regular bills without alimony.  The Alimony Reform Act also says that alimony will be “suspended, reduced, or ended” if the person receiving it lives with a third person and keeps a home with them.  In other words, your alimony may halt, be decreased, or end if your relationship is “marriage-like,” even if you aren’t married.  Living together but not getting married may not mean that you continue to get alimony.  If you are worried about what will happen to your alimony if you get married again, you should talk to an experienced lawyer.

Household costs:

Getting remarried may make it easier for you to pay for household costs since many couples choose to split these expenses.  Communication is vital in a long-term relationship, so having “the talk” about how you will share expenses sooner rather than later is best.  If you talk about how bills will be paid now, it may make things easier after you get remarried and may give you a heads-up about how you will deal with problems together in your new marriage.

Consider your former spouse’s finances and any agreements or judgments.

Alimony:

Your separation agreement or divorce decree may provide that you must inform your ex-spouse of your new marriage within a specific time period if you receive alimony from your ex-spouse and remarry.  First, check your separation agreement to see how long you have (it could be before you get married again, not after!).

Life insurance:

You might want to make your new spouse the beneficiary of your life insurance right away (or even your new partner before marriage). However, before making any changes, you should carefully study your separation agreement (and any subsequent judgments or agreements) to ensure that you are required to maintain any life insurance that names your ex-spouse as a beneficiary.

Health insurance:

If you are currently paying for your ex-spouse’s health insurance, your new marriage may mean they are no longer eligible for coverage under your policy.  First, review your health insurance policy terms to see if your ex-spouse will no longer be eligible once you remarry.  Also, look over your separation agreement and any subsequent health insurance judgments or agreements.  You may have to tell your ex-spouse of any changes to their eligibility within a specific time frame.  Alternatively, suppose you have health insurance through your ex-spouse.  In that case, you may be required by the divorce judgment, separation agreement, or any modification agreements or judgments to let your ex-spouse know that you now have health insurance through your new spouse.

Consider a prenup.

You should consider getting a prenuptial agreement if there is a big difference between your income and that of your future spouse or between the value of your assets (also called an antenuptial or premarital agreement).  For example, a prenuptial agreement might be a good idea if either of you expects to get a big gift or inheritance or if either of you has obtained a significant gift or estate.  In addition, a prenuptial agreement may be necessary so that you can ensure that your children from your first marriage get your assets when you die.  This is because prenuptial agreements usually cover financial issues related to estate planning and divorce.

Wrapping up Remarriage

It’s exciting to get married again, but anyone divorced should think about some essential things before tying the knot again.  First, it is important to look over your divorce judgment, separation agreement, and any other agreements or judgments that have come after.  If you have specific concerns, you should also talk to an attorney.  And a prenuptial agreement can be a great way to set the stage (and expectations) for a peaceful second marriage.

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