If your first marriage ended in divorce, and you are in a committed relationship with a new partner, the prospect of getting remarried may feel like a fresh start, and the opportunity to learn from past mistakes. However, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, second marriages have a higher rate of failure than first marriages. While this does not mean that your second chance at happiness will fail, it is important that you have realistic expectations, and that you are prepared to face some of the unique challenges associated with subsequent marriages. If you are planning to remarry, an experienced divorce lawyer can address any questions or concerns you may have about the impact your new marriage will have on issues like child support, custody issues and spousal support.
What Are the Challenges of a Second Marriage?
No matter how much you love each other and are committed to making the marriage work, it is important to understand the obstacles that couples face, particularly those who are getting married for the second time. The following are examples of unique challenges that couple who are getting remarried will likely face, either before or during their marriage:
- Ongoing feelings of anger, bitterness, and resentment towards a former spouse
- Greater sense of independence
- Shared financial obligations
- Responsibilities associated with a blended family and shared children
- Change in social networks
What Steps Should I Take Before Remarrying?
Whether your first marriage ended amicably or in a bitter court battle, the last thing you want to do is repeat past mistakes and go through another divorce. There are a range of considerations you should keep in mind, and mistakes to avoid if you are planning on getting remarried, including the following:
- Figure out why your first marriage failed. If you can understand the reasons why you and your former spouse could not make your marriage work, you may be able to take proactive steps to avoid repeating some of the mistakes you made. Analyze your relationship, identify the issues that you had difficulty resolving, and consider how your behavior, as well as that of your spouse, contributed to the divorce.
- Consider the impact the marriage will have on your children. Navigating new family relationships can be difficult and does not happen overnight. Talk to your children about the marriage and encourage them to ask questions and voice their concerns. Make sure that they know that their health and happiness is your top priority.
- Consider your finances before remarrying. There are a number of financial implications that you will need to consider before entering into another marriage.
- Alimony. If you receive alimony payments from your former spouse, those payments will end the day you get remarried, unless the alimony is rehabilitative or reimbursement alimony. You will need to notify your former spouse about your remarriage within a certain timeframe. Refer to your separation agreement to confirm this information.
- Household expenses. It is highly recommended that you and your future spouse discuss household expenses, and who is responsible for what. Many couples share expenses, but if you want to avoid conflict after you get married, you should have a conversation about it sooner rather than later.
- Life insurance. You may want to change the beneficiary on your life insurance policy from your former spouse to your new spouse. Before you make any changes to your policy, carefully review your separation agreement, and any other judgments or agreements to make sure that your former spouse is named as the beneficiary.
- Health insurance. If you receive health insurance coverage from your former spouse, you will no longer be eligible to receive coverage once you get remarried. You will need to notify your former spouse that you will be covered by your new spouse’s health insurance policy or find your own coverage.
- Consider a prenuptial agreement. This is highly recommended if you make significantly more money than your new spouse, or you expect to receive significant gifts or inheritances in the future. Having a prenuptial agreement in place helps with estate planning, ensures that you and your children receive the assets to which you are entitled, and protects your pre-marital assets that are in your name only.
- Consider whether you are ready to get married again. Whether you are getting married for the first, second, or third time, it is a major decision. If you are still feeling angry or resentful towards your former spouse, you may bring those feelings into your new marriage. If you were betrayed by your former spouse, you may also find it difficult to commit fully to a new person. Before you enter into a new marriage, you may want to address these issues by working with a counselor who can help you talk about your feelings and suggest helpful tools to resolve your issues so that you are emotionally ready to have a successful second marriage.
- Give yourself time to grieve the end of your marriage. Before you enter into a second marriage, allow yourself to grieve the loss of the marriage and heal from the experience. If you get remarried before you have had the chance to fully get over your first marriage, you are more likely to make impulsive decisions in an effort to fill the void that your former spouse has left. Take your time and give yourself the opportunity to heal and grow so that you can move past your first marriage.
How Can I Avoid the Mistakes of My First Marriage?
Despite the statistics, and the higher rate of divorce among second marriages, you can have a successful, long-lasting marriage if you keep the following tips in mind:
- Make your marriage and your relationship a priority.
- If you are holding on to any anger or resentment towards your former spouse, take steps to let go of those feelings. A therapist or counselor can help you address your feelings and find productive ways to work through them and move on.
- Continue to work on your communication by being open and honest with your new spouse about any challenges that may arise, including finances, family dynamics, parenting or relationships with family and friends.
- Try to address issues as soon as they arise, rather than allowing the conflict to grow and become more difficult to resolve.
- Make every effort to manage conflict in a mature and effective way.
- Develop positive, respectful, and loving relationships with stepchildren.
How Do I Know If I Am Not Ready to Remarry?
It is never a good idea to enter into a marriage if you are not emotionally, mentally, or financially ready. Jumping into a marriage too soon can create major problems in the relationship and send you down the familiar road towards divorce. The following are examples of common signs that you may not be ready to remarry:
- You still think about your former spouse and fantasize about getting back together.
- You still feel angry or bitter towards your former spouse and the divorce.
- You have trust issues with your new spouse.
- You and your new partner do not share the same values and goals.
Somerville Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Offer Legal Advice to Clients Who Are Getting Remarried
If you are planning on remarrying, you are urged to contact the Somerville divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 908-575-9777 or contact us online. Located in Somerville, Freehold, and Morristown, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.