Going through a divorce for the first time can be a difficult experience, but a second divorce should go along smoother, because you know what to expect, right? Sometimes a second divorce can be executed in the same manner as the first divorce and will in theory be easier because you are already prepared for the steps that will be taken. However, depending on a few different factors–such as the state you live in, who has custody of the child(ren), or the prenuptial agreement–your rights after a second divorce may have changed since your last divorce.
The following article from Attorneys.com outlines what your rights are after a second divorce. Learn what to expect for your second divorce.
My Rights After My Second Divorce
Your rights after a second divorce are not much different than those following your first marriage dissolution. Much depends on what was agreed upon in the second divorce decree or if you had a prenuptial agreement.
Distribution of Property
Regarding marital property, it depends on whether your second divorce occurred in an equitable distribution state or a community property state. Any property that you brought into the marriage in a community property state goes to you, while a court could determine that certain marital property should fairly go to the other spouse in an equitable distribution state depending on factors such as the parties’ financial status, duration of the marriage, or the parties’ contributions to the marriage.
Regarding custody of stepchildren after a second divorce, the non-parent will not have rights over the parent unless the latter’s rights have been terminated and no other relative has stepped forward to ask for custody rights. There is a preference for the parents to have custody. The only exception may be if the nonbiological spouse has been able to adopt the children. In other circumstances, a non-parent may get custody if any of the following occur:
- Neither parent is fit.
- A custodial parent has died, and the other is unfit.
- Length of physical custody with non-parent was significant.
- It is in the best interests of the child.
If the child is not in the physical custody of either parent, a third party can file for custody rights if the state follows the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act. Other states may not allow a third party to bring a custody suit if the child’s parents have been married.
Although property will be distributed according to whether the state is a community property or equitable distribution, many parties in second marriages will have a prenuptial agreement that will outline how assets and debts will be allocated if the marriage is dissolved.
These agreements are not airtight and can be challenged and ruled invalid in many cases. They must be signed before the marriage, be in writing and entered into voluntarily, and not be oppressive or so one-sided as to be unconscionable. Also, the parties must disclose all of their assets or have knowingly and willingly waived full disclosure.
Your rights after a second divorce will not be materially different and usually must still adhere to any court-approved agreement regarding custody, visitation, support, and property distribution.
Massachusetts is an “equitable distribution state,” which means that a variety of factors could contribute to who is awarded the assets, rather than simply dividing them in half. In equitable distribution, property will be awarded fairly, rather than necessarily by what is equal. Depending on factors such as salary, child care, and the length of the marriage, it will affect what is awarded in the divorce differently.
Many people choose to sign prenuptial agreements before their second marriage. Due to this factor, the agreement could affect the way the distribution of property is awarded upon the dissolution of the marriage. Prenuptial agreements are implemented in order to ease the divorce process.
If you are considering a second divorce, it might be time to speak with a lawyer about your rights after a second divorce. The attorneys at Revelli & Luzzo would be happy to speak with you, since we specialize in family law. Contact us today.
We’d like to know how many of our readers have or plan to sign a prenuptial agreement.