Getting a divorce doesn’t mean your romantic life is automatically over. Over time, either or both parties may find new partners, or even change their minds about their former spouses. What are your rights when then happens? Can you change your mind and get remarried after a Colorado divorce? What will happen to your spousal support (maintenance) if you do?
In this blog post I will discuss how soon you can get remarried after a Colorado divorce is final. I will address whether there are any limits on marrying your ex-spouse, and what effect the new marriage will have on ongoing spousal maintenance orders.
How Long Do You Have to Wait to Get Remarried After a Colorado Divorce?
Sometimes, a life-changing event happens and a divorce follows right on its heels. Other times, however, couples may separate for months or even years before finally getting around to formally ending their marriage. In many long-term separations, the push to divorce is actually based on the desire to get remarried.
In Colorado (and most of the rest of the U.S.), each adult can only have one spouse. That means before you can be legally married to your new spouse you must have a Decree ending your first marriage. In many of these cases, the divorce is a formality and the negotiations over property division and parental responsibilities are pretty straightforward. In others where, communications problems or unrealistic expectations caused the separation in the first place, the lengthy separation may have simply put off a long and painful litigation. When one spouse is waiting to get remarried after a Colorado divorce it can put time pressure on a case that is already complicated and emotional legal process.
The good news is that once the Decree is entered, you don’t have to wait any longer. Unlike some other states, there is no waiting period to get married in Colorado. In theory, your judge could sign your Decree in the morning and perform your marriage ceremony in the afternoon (not that we recommend this). What matters is that you must be legally single before your marriage is completed. You can have a commitment ceremony before that, but it will not count as a legal marriage.
How Will Remarriage Affect Your Alimony (Spousal Maintenance)?
In other cases, the parties getting divorced may have no intention of getting remarried. New spouses may only come into the picture long after the Decree is entered. In these cases, the parties may have negotiated, or the court may have ordered that the higher wage-earning spouse should pay spousal maintenance to the lower wage-earning spouse every month for a set amount of time. That decision was based on the parties needs and abilities to support themselves at the time of the Divorce.
Getting remarried affects those needs. That’s why, under Colorado law, unless the parties have expressly agreed otherwise, spousal maintenance ends automatically on the day the supported spouse gets remarried. It is important to note Maintenance will not be suspended, reduced, or terminated solely upon the grounds that the recipient is cohabitating with a romantic partner, unless otherwise agreed in writing. You should speak with a family law attorney to determine if and when it is appropriate to file a motion to terminate maintenance.
When spousal maintenance payments are made through a garnishment or income withholding order sent to the paying spouse’s employer. The employer then sends a portion of every check to the state for spousal maintenance before sending the rest to the employee. Employers aren’t likely to take their employee’s word that they can just start ignoring a court order. In these cases, you and your family law attorney should file a motion asking the court to terminate the maintenance and income withholding immediately and order your ex-spouse to reimburse you for anything paid after the date of the marriage.
Can You Remarry Your Ex-Spouse in Colorado?
In rare cases, ex-spouses decide they were better off together than apart. Maybe one spouse has finally overcome a substance abuse problem or the financial needs of the family are better served if the couple is married. If the parties reconcile while the case is still pending and both parties agree, the party who filed may withdraw the petition for divorce. This will stop the proceedings and allow the couple to remain married.
If the decision to remain together takes longer, the question becomes whether the parties to a Colorado divorce are allowed to remarry each other. The answer is yes. There are very few limits on who can marry in Colorado:
- Both parties must be 18 years old, 16 with parental consent, or younger with a court order
- Unmarried (as discussed above)
- Not closely related (marrying your parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, aunts, and uncles are all prohibited)
Notice, none of those limitations apply to former spouses. So even though the parties have received a Judgment of Absolute Divorce, there is nothing stopping them from having a new ceremony and signing a new marriage license to pick up where their marriage left off.
Still, it might be a good idea to consult with a family law attorney before remarrying to determine if your prior Separation Agreement or Decree places any limits on maintenance or property division in case the parties remarry.
At Aviso Law, LLC, our divorce lawyers know that life doesn’t end after divorce. When you or your former spouse get remarried after a Colorado divorce, we can help you understand the effects that decision will have on your life and your spousal maintenance. We are here to serve you and your family. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.