If you’ve found your soulmate after a failed marriage, you’re probably anxious to move forward and turn over a new leaf in your life.

With new love in the air, you may also be thinking of getting remarried. If you are, you could be wondering if there is anything you should do to wrap up your previous marital matters and protect yourself, your family, and your future spouse in case things don’t go as planned.

In this post, find out three important things you should do before saying “I do” for the second time.

1. Make Sure You Are Divorced

This suggestion may seem absurd, but attempting to get married without being properly divorced can happen, especially because the distinction between separation and divorce in the eyes of the law can be unclear.

A separation typically means a couple is not together anymore but it doesn’t mean they’re legally divorced (and ergo, eligible to remarry). So, if you’ve tied the knot before, you’ll need to ensure you are actually divorced—and not just separated—before exchanging your vows with another person.

One way to check if your divorce was legitimate is to go to a vital record’s office in your state and attempt to pull a divorce decree (sometimes called a divorce certificate).

Likewise, individuals who divorce in a foreign country may find they are not actually divorced in the United States. This is because the rules and requirements regarding marriage and divorce in other countries can differ greatly from laws in the States, and other conditions, such as evidence that both spouses had an opportunity to be heard before the divorce was granted, may be required before the divorce can be properly recognized.

Similarly, you may want to check with your local records office to make sure everything is in order.

Weddings can be expensive, so before you say yes to the dress (or suit), pick your cake, and finalize your guest list, you should confirm your legal relationship status.

2. Protect Yourself with a Prenuptial Agreement

A Prenuptial Agreement (often called a prenup) can seem ominous in that it addresses what you and your husband or wife will do after your relationship has ended, but this agreement is actually very useful and is recommended if you:

  • Have children with someone else
  • Want to protect anything that personally belongs to you or belonged to you before your relationship, such as personal property, inheritances, businesses, or investments
  • Want to avoid certain disagreements or misunderstandings about current and future financial responsibilities

When you plan to remarry, it is understandable to not want to be bogged down by the thought of your current relationship failing, but prenups can save a lot of headaches (and heartaches) for you and your husband or wife in case things don’t go as planned.

3. Update Your Estate Plans

Depending on when you originally created your estate plans, your estate documents, like your Power of Attorney or Last Will and Testament, likely reference your previous relationship, and as you enter this new chapter of your life, you’ll want to update these documents.

It’s impossible to know when these documents will be needed, so to protect yourself, your family, and your future husband or wife, you should ensure your estate documents accurately reflect your current situation.

A good rule to follow is to update your estate documents after any major life events (including having or adopting a child, purchasing a home, and more).

Start Your Next Chapter Properly

Although we all want our fairy tale life to start sooner rather than later, without taking the appropriate steps before getting remarried, you can quickly end up the protagonist of your own tragic tale.

Confirming your relationship status, getting a prenup, and updating your estate plans are just three things you should do before getting remarried that can be essential to protecting yourself—and your family—from future problems or mishaps.

Posted by Ashley Camarneiro

Ashley is an experienced researcher and writer with an interest in real estate, contract, and family law. Before starting at LawDepot in the summer of 2017, Ashley worked as a legal assistant in the corporate and family law sector.