Maybe remarriage is the furthest thing from your mind while you’re working through a divorce. Or maybe you have already begun a new relationship that is headed down a serious path. Either way, odds are high that you will eventually walk down the aisle again. As many as 52 percent of divorced women and 64 percent of divorced men will remarry at some point in their lives, according to the Pew Research Center. And most are expected to remarry within just five years of their divorce.
It may be helpful to know how soon after saying “I don’t” you can legally say “I do” to a new partner. As always, an experienced attorney can offer guidance about the specific laws in your state, but here is a general overview.
Is there a separation period? If you haven’t yet filed for divorce, and you’re trying to estimate how long the process will take, you may want to see if your state has a mandatory separation period before seeking a divorce from a court. Separation periods are intended to allow time for reconciliation.
They range from non-existent to as long as a year when both parties consent to a divorce, and possibly as long as two years when one party does not consent. In New York, for instance, you can seek a “no fault” divorce if you and your spouse have been separated for at least one year, or if you have had an “irretrievable breakdown in relationship” for at least six months.
Is there a waiting period? Another procedural hurdle that may slow things down is a “waiting period,” which some states have enacted for divorces. A waiting period is a minimum period of time that it takes to finalize a divorce. Again, the procedure is intended to offer couples an opportunity to reconcile differences. Some states like California have a waiting period of six months, which is the earliest you can get a divorce finalized even if both ex-partners agree to the terms. In some states, the waiting period may be as long as one year. New York has no waiting period; however, courts still will probably take from six weeks to as long as several months to grant a divorce.
Is there a post-divorce waiting period? Some states also impose an added delay to potential remarriage after divorces are finalized. Most of the time, when these post-divorce waiting periods exist, they are usually 30 days. In Texas, for instance, you must wait 30 days after a judge issues a final decree to get married again. Most states, including New York, do not have post-divorce waiting periods, though. So most of the time, as soon as you have the final court order in hand, you can get remarried.
Other considerations: Regardless of the timeline dictated by state law, it’s probably a good idea to spend some time thinking carefully about getting remarried after a divorce. There may be both legal and emotional implications. Getting remarried can affect your financial situation and your rights and responsibilities as a spouse. For instance, if you get remarried, you may be responsible for supporting your new spouse financially and may be entitled to a share of their assets in the event of a divorce. Emotionally, you will need to think about whether you’re truly ready for a new marriage, and also about the emotional concerns of any children you might have.
Ultimately, the decision to get remarried after a divorce is a personal one that depends on your individual circumstances and needs. It is important to consider the legal and emotional implications of getting remarried and to make an informed decision that is right for you. If you are considering getting remarried, it may be helpful to seek the advice of a trusted attorney to help you understand your options and make the best decision for your future.