How Soon after Divorce Can You Remarry?

If you’ve recently divorced, it’s natural to have a lot of questions about what comes next. Some people vow to stay single for a long time after divorce. Others are ready to jump back into the dating pool as soon as they can. Still, others aren’t sure what they want.

Are you thinking of getting married again?

The divorce process isn’t easy for anyone, even under the best of circumstances. After all the paperwork has been finalized, the court hearing completed, and the ink dried, you may wonder, “When can I get married again?”

Legal strictures

Waiting for a while to tie the knot again isn’t just wise, it may be legally required. Depending on where you live, your state may impose restrictions on how long you have to wait after divorce before getting remarried.

Time for healing

Even if a waiting period is not required by your state, you may want to wait before jumping into another relationship if for no other reason than to take time for yourself. After all, you’ve been through a lot, and it’s important to reflect on your previous marriage and heal from any lingering grief or other unresolved issues.

Consider the kids

If you have children with your ex, they’re another valid consideration before you remarry. Kids are resilient, but they need time to adjust to their new life and living situations. Adding a new partner too hastily could end badly for everyone. A lot of divorced people who date don’t even introduce their dates to their kids until they’re sure the relationship is serious.

If you dive into a new relationship or even a new marriage soon after divorce, you could be short-changing yourself – and the new person in your life. A new relationship has a better chance of success if you’ve given yourself plenty of time to heal from the pain of your divorce. 

What divorce laws say about remarriage

Most states today impose no restrictions on how long you must wait after receiving your final divorce decree to remarry. You have the freedom to make your own decisions about what's best for you and your family. However, a few states do require a mandatory waiting period.

Which states have mandatory waiting periods?

  • If you get divorced in Nebraska or Wisconsin, you must wait six months after your divorce before entering a new marriage.
  • If you get divorced in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, you must wait for 90 days after your divorce before you remarry.
  • If you get divorced in Alabama, you must wait for 60 days before entering a new marriage.
  • If you get divorced in Washington, D.C., Texas, or Kansas, you must wait 30 days before marrying again. However, in Kansas, the required waiting period can be waived if both former spouses agree.
  • In South Dakota, if a marriage fails because of unfaithfulness and a fault divorce is granted on those terms, the adulterous spouse cannot remarry as long as their ex-spouse is still living. Practically speaking, however, the spouse could simply get married in another state outside of South Dakota's jurisdiction.

Why do these waiting periods exist?

The reasoning behind mandatory waiting periods is based on the notion that an intact family is most important and should be preserved if at all possible. Further, a “cooling off” period after divorce gives couples a chance to reconcile.

Today, however, the consensus in most states is that if a person doesn't want to be in a marriage, they shouldn't be kept in one.

What about alimony and child support after remarriage?

When a divorced person who receives alimony, or spousal support, remarries, this often terminates their right to financial support from their prior spouse. If the paying spouse remarries, their alimony payments may be reduced, depending on the situation.

When a parent receiving child support remarries, their support isn't usually changed. However, a new spouse's income may play a role in how much a court decides to adjust any child support payments. The court will also consider other factors, such as additional children and whether the paying parent's income has changed.

When to seek legal advice

If you're unsure whether you can legally remarry after divorce in your state, consider contacting Hello Divorce. We offer support and guidance during this emotional time and can provide you with access to a family law attorney who can help you understand your rights.