The decision to end a marriage is a big one. The decision to try again with a former spouse is an even bigger one. The smart way to handle such a situation is to be aware of the possible legal ramifications of overturning a divorce settlement. A second chance is possible, but legally, it might look a little different the second time around. 

Can I Remarry My Former Spouse?

The short answer is yes. If two divorced individuals decide to try the relationship again, there’s nothing legally stopping them from dating or remarrying again.

This is an important question to ask, and the answer will look different for every couple. 

Sometimes when couples get a divorce, the divorce settlement is straightforward. More often, it’s necessary for a divorce decree to outline the distribution of assets and other important legal issues, including: 

  • Child custody
  • Child support payments
  • Alimony payments
  • Distribution of property and assets
  • Debt allocation
  • Retirement benefits
  • Inheritance claims
  • Life insurance

Plans for each of these areas are usually determined in the divorce decree. Dating a former spouse will have no legal impact on these areas. However, remarriage can have a huge impact. 

What Are the Risks of Remarriage? 

The chief concern with remarriage to the same person is the fact that the marriage has already been attempted once, but it did not work for one or both parties. 

Before remarrying a former spouse, it’s important to consider the reasons the first marriage ended. 

Marriages end for a wide variety of reasons. Since both people are the same, you should consider the likelihood of similar issues reappearing a second time. 

New Divorce, New Outcomes?

The primary reason a second marriage should be carefully considered is the possibility of a second divorce. 

The state of California considers the existing marriage when determining a fair distribution in a subsequent divorce. This means there’s a good chance the conditions of a second divorce may be starkly different from the first. 

For example, in a divorce, one spouse may be required to make a high alimony payment to the other. In the event of a second divorce, a judge will not consider the previous alimony amount, so there’s no guarantee that the same or a similar outcome will be reached. 

Likewise, in a divorce, one spouse may receive full custody of any children. In a second divorce, the custody ruling may end with a different result. 

Be Prepared for Changes

When two individuals are considering marriage, divorce may be the last thing they want to think about. 

However, especially in a situation like this, it’s important to consider what a different divorce settlement might look like. Both spouses should be pragmatic about the fact that their marriage has already ended once. 

Looking at the situation makes it easy to clearly identify the risks and benefits of a remarriage. Both spouses should be well aware of the likelihood of changes to the current settlement.

Spousal support is a matter that is highly contingent on circumstances. A short remarriage can have a long-term economic impact. 

Some matters may not change due to remarriage. In a first marriage, both spouses have equal inheritance rights. If a divorcing spouse waives inheritance rights, that waiver will remain in effect, even after a second marriage takes place. 

In a complicated situation, like when you’re considering remarriage to a former spouse, it’s a good idea to speak with a family law attorney. Legal counsel can help you to identify and understand all of the many risks and benefits that might come out of a remarriage. 
For some couples, a remarriage can lead to lasting happiness, but it’s important to protect yourself by knowing the potential risks.