It’s an unfortunate truth, but marriages don’t always work out. Thankfully, people can choose to find love again.
So, what happens if you meet someone special soon after finalizing the divorce with your ex-spouse? Perhaps you’re wondering if there are any restrictions that prevent you from moving on at the pace you would like to.
Every state has its own laws and regulations, so your limitations may vary depending on where you live. However, it is still possible to get married soon after getting divorced. Here, we will discuss getting married after a divorce, if there are waiting periods, tips for getting remarried, and more.
Is There a Waiting Period for Remarriage?
The answer to this question depends on where you live. While the majority of states no longer require ex-partners to wait a certain amount of time before getting remarried, some still do. Currently, nine states (and Washington D.C.) have laws that outline limitations for those who wish to get remarried soon after their divorce.
30-Day Waiting Period
The following states and U.S. territories have a 30-day waiting period for those looking to remarry:
- Washington D.C.
If you live in any of these states or territories, you’ll need to wait at least 30 consecutive calendar days post-divorce before formalizing a marriage with someone new.
60-Day Waiting Period
The following state has a 60-day waiting period for those looking to remarry after their divorce:
So, if you are an Alabama resident and wish to remarry, you’ll need to wait a minimum of 60 consecutive calendar days before you can make it official. However, there is no waiting period if the person you’re remarrying is your ex-spouse.
90-Day and Three-Month Waiting Periods
The following states have a 90-day waiting period for people looking to get married again soon after their divorces:
- Rhode Island
If you reside in Massachusetts, you’ll need to wait 90 consecutive calendar days before remarriage. If you live in Rhode Island, you’ll need to wait three months, which may be up to 92 days depending on the time of year.
Six-Month Waiting Period
The following states have a six-month waiting period for those looking to remarry after divorce:
So, if you permanently reside in any of these three states, you’ll have to wait at least six months after your divorce before getting married again, which may be up to 182 calendar days depending on the time of year.
Why Have a Waiting Period?
You might be wondering, “What is the purpose of having a waiting period before remarriage?” This waiting period exists to make sure both spouses are in agreement with the terms of their divorce. Generally, divorcing couples have 30 days to appeal a divorce ruling if they handled their case in a court of law.
During this time, either spouse could file an appeal and ask the judge to reconsider their decision on something like child support or alimony payments. So, the waiting period is there to allow room for both parties to fully understand what they’ve agreed to and ensure they have adequate time to raise any concerns.
What About Spouses Who Commit Adultery?
If you live in a state that still recognizes fault-based divorces and wish to cite that your spouse has committed adultery, you’ll need proof that is admissible in court. You may need to consult a lawyer. In most states that have a waiting period, adulterous acts do not have an effect on the waiting period for remarriage.
In some cases, adultery can impact your ability to get married in the future, whether the state has a waiting period or not.
Let’s use South Dakota as an example. There is no waiting period for remarriage if you reside here. However, when adultery is cited as the reason for divorce by either party, the spouse who was in the wrong is not permitted to remarry as long as their ex-spouse is alive.
The exception would be if they decided to remarry their ex-spouse.
What Happens If You Move to a New State?
If you move to another state, it may affect your time frame for remarriage. Marriage license issuing processes and laws vary depending on the state you live in. In some cases, you may be able to get remarried right away after moving out of state. However, some state waiting periods apply no matter where you move.
For example, if you live in Rhode Island and decide you want to move to California after your divorce, you’re free to do so. However, you’ll still have to wait three months before you can remarry. A new marriage wouldn’t be legitimate since the old one is legally still valid until the three-month period is up.
What Happens If You’re Legally Separated?
Some couples opt for legal separation because it can be a faster and less expensive process than going through the court system. Legal separation isn’t the same as divorce. This means that if you marry someone else while legally separated, it is considered bigamy, which is a criminal offense in all 50 states. If you’re legally separated and want to get remarried, you’ll need to formalize your divorce through the court.
You can also utilize an alternative dispute resolution such as mediation. Mediation can be a good option for divorcing couples who are looking to resolve their issues on their own with the help of a neutral third party. With this method, issues like alimony and child custody can be handled at your own pace, and you won’t have to worry about a judge issuing an unfavorable ruling.
What Is Legal Separation?
Legal separation is a common alternative to divorce where a couple lives in separate homes and have separate lives. Couples may choose this option when they are having problems but feel like they may ultimately decide to stay together. Legal separation has to be court-ordered to be official; it isn’t enough to live apart, a judge must verify you meet the criteria and issue a ruling.
Other Things To Consider Before You Remarry
Before you get married again, there are a few factors you’ll want to think over. Yes, certain states have restrictions, and these are important to keep in mind — but you’ll also need to ask yourself if you’re ready to move on with someone new.
Divorce can take quite a mental toll on us. If you don’t allow yourself to heal before your next commitment, you might end up causing more pain for yourself. Here are a few things that could be important to consider before you enter a new union.
If you and your ex-spouse share children, getting married again will become more complex. You’ll want to consider how your moving on could impact your kids mentally and emotionally. Divorce can have many negative effects on children, so it’s a good idea to take your time, especially if they’re quite young.
Here are some common struggles faced by children of divorce:
- Acting out (ex: fighting)
- Decreasing test scores
- Mental health issues (ex: depression)
- Social seclusion (if they were previously quite social)
Here are some steps you can take to help make the process easier:
- Communicate with your children openly
- Don’t argue with your ex-spouse in front of them
- Present as a united front when making important decisions (ex: discipline) so your child understands you’re both still working together in their best interest
- Try family (or individual) counseling
Divorce is hard on a couple, but it can be even harder on children as they adjust to a new lifestyle (and potentially a new city or school) after their parents split up. The younger your children are, the more difficult it can be for them to understand why things happen the way they do. So, patience will be key as you navigate how to ease your child into a life with your new partner in it.
Joint Financial Obligations
Perhaps you and your ex-spouse purchased a car or home together or even took out a joint loan that hasn’t been paid off. Financial obligations can be enough of a burden when they’re just under your name, but it can be even trickier when you’re tied to someone else.
This is especially true if you’re looking to purchase property or apply for credit with your new partner or by yourself. If your ex-spouse isn’t keeping up their portion of the payments, you could take a hit on your credit, which would impact your creditworthiness.
If you live in a community property state, the majority of marital debt is often considered the responsibility of both spouses. If you live in a state that recognizes common law, debt is typically separate, and only the spouse who’s on the account is liable. However, there’s an exception:
If the debt was used for the benefit of both parties (ex: home loan) but is in only one spouse's name, both spouses can be held accountable post-divorce. You’ll want to consider how any financial ties with your ex-partner could impact you in the long run and develop a plan for paying them off.
Your Mental Health
You’ll also want to consider how entering into a new marriage could impact your mental health. Cutting ties with a partner can take a major toll, especially if you were together for many years. Studies show a link between remarrying after divorce and increased depression, particularly in men. If you’re struggling post-divorce, it’s worth it to consider seeking professional help from a licensed therapist or psychologist.
Signs You’re Ready To Move On
You might be wondering how to know when you’re ready to be married again. The good news is that there’s no rush. You can take as much time as you need to determine what the next step forward is for you and take it at your desired pace.
Here are some statements that probably will ring true when you’re really ready to commit to someone new:
- You don’t think about your ex-spouse anymore
- You don’t hold any anger or resentment about the past
- You’re comfortable being open and honest with your new love interest
- You and your new person are aligned in every sense of the word (ex: financially)
- You’ve taken adequate time to heal
- You’re marrying for love, not to fill a void
Relationships can be tricky, but if you’re patient, you can still find love even if you’ve lost it in the past. At the end of the day, you know yourself better than anyone. So, when you’re ready, you’ll know that too.
Moving Forward in Life
While divorce can be an opportunity to begin a new chapter in your life, it can be tough to move forward when you’re caught up in the court system waiting on court dates and for the judge to issue a final ruling. Thankfully, services like mediation are available to help ease you through the big decisions within your divorce and make your split as amicable as possible.
The faster your divorce is final, the faster you’ll be able to move on with your life — and if you live in one of the U.S. states that legally enforces a waiting period for remarriage following divorce, time really can be of the essence.