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Can I Legally Remarry My Ex-Spouse?

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Why Divorced Couples Get Remarried

The idea of remarrying your ex probably sounds far-fetched. After all, you divorced for a reason (or many reasons) and presumably have moved on. But remarriage does occur and may be more common than you realize. According to one study, as many as 10% to 15% of all divorced couples will reconcile.

But statistically speaking, the odds are against you. Second marriages end in divorce more often than first marriages. In fact, according to Psychology Today “… a whopping 60% of remarriages fail. And they do so even more quickly; after an average of 10 years, 37% of remarriages have dissolved versus 30% of first marriages.”

Shot Of Couple Holding Hands

The reasons for getting remarried vary from couple to couple. Many people realize, after the anger and frustration of the divorce dissipate, that they actually miss their former spouse, especially if they were married for a long time. They may wonder what they could have done differently or if the marriage could have been salvaged. Some people who are thinking about remarrying their ex believe they made a mistake getting divorced in the first place.
Whatever the reason, remarriage between divorced couples does happen on occasion. If you’re thinking of remarrying your ex, there are steps to take to help the relationship succeed the second time around.

Legal Considerations for Marrying Your Ex-spouse After Divorce

According to the law in Pennsylvania, an unmarried person is free to marry anyone of legal age who is not already legally married, unless the parties are related any closer than second cousins. And neither party may be “weak minded, insane, of unsound mind or … under guardianship….” A person whose divorce has been finalized is not considered to be married under the law, so he or she is free to marry again. This means that if you and your former spouse decide to marry each other once more, there is nothing in the law that will prohibit the union. In Pennsylvania, there is a legally mandated 3 day waiting period after the application for a marriage license that applies to all marriages.

Vacate Your Existing Marital Judgment

Before you and your ex decide to get back together, it absolutely crucial to ensure that your divorce is completely finished. If any part of your case has been reserved for future consideration, remarriage could create complications. Likewise, if either of you married another partner in the meantime, that divorce must also be finalized.

You and your ex-spouse may also need to petition the court to vacate your existing marital settlement agreement, especially if it contains provisions regarding spousal maintenance or parental obligations. Undoing your divorce settlement may be difficult and will likely require the assistance of a qualified family law attorney. Remarrying the same person could also affect issues such as Social Security payments and other government or retirement benefits.

Consider Establishing a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement can be an excellent way to protect your assets before you get married, but it’s an essential step to consider when you are marrying a person for the second time, as recombining your assets will not automatically make them marital property. Your prenuptial agreement can address property and financial concerns, as well as any other important details you wish to include.

Non-Legal Steps to Take

Take your time. Some advisors recommend waiting at least a year after your divorce before remarrying your ex.

Take a personal inventory and be honest. When divorce happens, no one is blameless. Admit to your role and responsibility in what went wrong in your first marriage. If you can’t readily do this, you will continue to struggle after remarrying your ex. You also need to keep things completely honest between the two of you. There should be no game-playing, no mind-reading, and no unspoken expectations. Share with one another your hopes, dreams, and feelings.

Consider your children. Getting back together just for the sake of the kids is a bad idea. Get back together because you love (and like) one another and want to be married again. If you do have children, don’t let them know you’re dating again for a while. They could get their hopes up that you will reconcile. These hopes also could put pressure on you to remarry, even if things are not going as well as you would like.

Be realistic and set reasonable expectations. It is important to recognize that the first marriage is dead. As hard as this may be, do not let that ghost hurt your new marriage. Don’t dwell on the mistakes you made in the previous marriage. Instead, focus on your future together.

Get Help from Petrelli Previtera

Marriage involves a lot of decisions, but remarrying your former spouse can be even more complicated than a typical wedding. You may want to consider family counseling. You will certainly want to consult a family attorney before committing to remarry. They can help you navigate the legal and financial considerations of marrying your ex-spouse, making the process go more smoothly for you and your partner.

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