How Long After Divorce Can You Remarry in Maryland?
March 27th, 2019
Sometimes your divorce happens as soon as your marriage is over. In other cases, you and your former spouse stay technically married, even while you live separate lives. Find out how a long separation can make your divorce more complicated, and how long after divorce you can remarry in Maryland.
This blog post will answer the question of how long after divorce can you remarry in Maryland, as well as explain issues that arise as part of lengthy separations, and how prenuptial agreements can protect second marriages.
Is There a Waiting Period to Remarry in Maryland?
The short answer to how long you have to wait after divorce to remarry in Maryland is easy. There is no waiting period. Technically, your judge could sign your judgment of absolute divorce in the morning and you could sign your marriage license that same afternoon.
However, you will remain married, with all the rights and obligations that attach to that status until the absolute divorce decree is entered. Even after your complaint for absolute divorce has been filed you are still married. If you and your new fiancee are trying to plan a wedding while you are still just separated from your current spouse, make sure you leave enough time to negotiate a settlement or take your case to trial. Otherwise, you may end up pushing back the date of your second wedding.
Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until You “Have” to Get Divorced
For some people, the legal divorce process is more intimidating than simply separating from their partners. In these cases, spouses can sometimes live as married but informally separated for years until one or the other needs to get divorced so they can remarry. However, a years-long separation can complicate your Maryland divorce proceedings.
In a Maryland divorce, all marital property will be equitably divided between the parties. “Marital property” means everything you or your spouse accumulated during the marriage -- from the date of the marriage until the decree of absolute divorce. That includes everything either of you acquired while you were separated.
Notably, Maryland is an “equitable distribution” state. That means your marital property won’t automatically be divided dollar-for-dollar down the middle. Instead, the court will do what is fair considering all the circumstances, including your lengthy separation. However, if you want to keep the property you accumulated during your separation, you and your divorce lawyer will need to establish the values of your property before and after your separation. Even then, if your spouse has not also been accumulating property, the court may not find it fair to award you everything after the date of separation.
There are a number of other reasons why it is better to divorce shortly after you separate. For example:
- Evidence of the value of marital assets will be easier to gather soon after separation
- Having a concrete parenting time order provides certainty
- Tax implications for parties married, but filing separately and claiming the children
What You May Want to Do Before Remarrying in Maryland
Just because your judgment of absolute divorce has been signed doesn’t always mean you should run straight to the altar, either. Beyond the emotional and sentimental reasons to wait, there is at least one legal reason to put on the brakes before you get remarried: the prenuptial agreement.
Divorcees have some of the strongest reasons to use a prenuptial agreement:
- To protect the inheritance of children from their first marriage
- To clarify separate property owned prior to remarrying
- To reduce the stress and expense if this second marriage also results in divorce
When you have already been through a divorce once, you understand the reality of the time, financial, and emotional cost involved. Rather than rushing to the courthouse or church to get remarried, take a moment with your new partner to consider what has come before, and to protect the children and property you bring with you into the new marriage.
At the Law Office of Shelly M. Ingram, our divorce lawyers understand that sometimes divorce doesn’t happen until you want to remarry. We know how to work through the complications of a lengthy separation, and can help you decide whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you in your second marriage. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an attorney.