After a divorce, many people vow never to get married again. Some keep that promise to themselves, and others change their minds when they meet the right person after the pain of divorce has faded. Then there are those who want a remarriage as soon as possible, often because they met the person they want to marry during their marriage, leading to the divorce in the first place.
The short answer to the question in the title is that you can remarry as soon as your divorce is final in Minnesota. Up until March 1, 1979, the state imposed a six-month waiting period to remarry in Minnesota. A remarriage that took place within six months after divorce was not automatically void but was considered “voidable” and could be set aside. While that law may have prevented people from rashly entering into another union, it also limited people’s freedom to move on with their lives.
Now, nothing can stop you from remarrying immediately after a divorce in Minnesota if you want to. Let’s talk about remarriage after divorce, including when you can remarry after divorce (and whether it’s a good idea to move quickly).
Despite the bitterness of many divorces, most divorced people actually do give marriage another try. Nearly four out of five divorced people make another trip down the aisle. As a general rule, the younger the person, the more quickly they are likely to remarry.
The average time for someone to remarry after a divorce is just under four years. Of course, the average time of remarriage doesn’t matter; what matters is whether it is the right time (and person) for you to remarry. So how long should you wait to remarry after a divorce?
How soon to remarry after divorce depends on a number of factors, not the least of which is why you want to remarry. It may be that you have met someone you believe is the true love of your life, and you don’t want to wait another moment to be together. You may have a romantic partner who is pregnant, a partner who needs to be on your health insurance, or one who is moving out of the country.
Rarely, however, is it essential to step into a new marriage shortly after you have left your old one. If it’s true love, it will still be true love after a yearlong engagement. If you’re welcoming a baby with a new partner, remember that unmarried parents can successfully co-parent. Marrying quickly will not eliminate financial or logistical concerns and could create even more problems.
On the flip side, there are many good reasons not to remarry too quickly. One of the biggest is not having taken time to learn from the demise of your previous marriage. If you have not taken the time to unpack what caused your last marriage to fail, you may be setting yourself up for failure in your next marriage. If you believe the problem was your spouse, or your situation, you may not take responsibility for your own role in the end of the marriage and may carry the same thought patterns, coping mechanisms, and communication skills into the new marriage. When pressures crop up in the new marriage (as they inevitably will), you may find that you are no better equipped to deal with them.
On a related note, you also need time to heal from any hurt or trauma you experienced in your previous marriage. Being with someone who is kind to you after being with someone who was cruel to you may make you feel like you are in love. But even if you are, you need to address those old wounds so you are prepared to interact with your new partner in a healthy way. As a wise person once said, “If you don’t heal, you’ll bleed on someone who didn’t cut you.” Take the time and action necessary to heal yourself so you don’t hurt or drive away your new partner.
Whether you need to learn from your previous marriage, heal from it, or both, therapy can go a long way to preparing you for a successful new marriage. Effective therapy that produces lasting results is not a quick process, so getting remarried probably shouldn’t be either.
If the reasons above aren’t enough to make you put the brakes on remarriage, take a moment to think about your kids. If you have young children, it could be confusing and upsetting to them if you remarry quickly, especially if your new spouse has children who suddenly become their stepsiblings. Older children, and even adult children, may be resentful of a swift remarriage, which could create problems in your relationship with them.
You may envision blending into one big new happy family. The reality is likely to be different if your children do not have time to adjust to their parents being divorced before getting used to a new stepfamily. Like the adults in the family, your children may benefit from counseling to process their feelings about the changes in their lives.
Remember that your children had no control over your divorce, and they have no control over whether you remarry. If they act out, it may be because they feel powerless to express their emotions any other way. All behavior is communication, and your children’s behavior may be communicating that they need you to slow down your plans to remarry. None of this means that you should never remarry, just that you shouldn’t move too quickly.
For a surprising number of people, getting remarried after divorce means remarrying the spouse they divorced. That can be a good thing, but if you haven’t taken the time to learn from past mistakes, you could end up hurting each other, and devastating your children, all over again.
If you have more questions about how long you should wait to marry after divorce, we invite you to contact Mundahl Law to schedule a consultation.