If you want to look on the bright side of divorce -- once you're able to process it and get to a good place in your head -- you have the chance to fall in love all over again. This is a tidbit my friend (also divorced) told me when I was first going through it. It's never easy, and in the beginning you think you will never get married again. But sometimes you meet another someone special, and that new love helps you overcome any negative thoughts you had on getting hitched again.
Still, re-marrying when you have children comes with a whole new set of things to consider this time around.
"Adding a new spouse or significant relationship drastically changes the dynamic" between you and your ex, especially when it comes to raising the kids, said Lindsay Camandona, a divorce lawyer at McKinley Irvin.
Although your new husband will no doubt "want to play a significant role in your children's life," it's your job to make sure your former spouse is okay with that, she told The Stir.
"Try to minimize the effect so that your children are not the ones to experience the drama that results," advised Camandona.
Here are 7 helpful tips for re-marrying when kids are involved:
1. Work as a team. As in any marriage, learning to work together and present a unified front are important, especially with children already in the picture. That includes coming up with a plan as to who will do what chores, how to manage the household and finances, and how to parent the kids – which will also need your ex’s input. It’s important everyone affected is on the same page, according to Camandon.
2. Respect boundaries. There shouldn't be any surprises for anyone in a remarriage -- this pertains to your new spouse and your ex. You may find yourself having some pretty awkward conversations, but keeping everyone in the know and respecting how each person feels are imperative for functioning relationships after the split -- including those with teachers ... and exes.
3. Be flexible! When it comes to kids and exes and step-kids and your husband's ex, there are so many schedules and things to consider. Prepare yourself for canceled plans and changes, and have a more go-with-the-flow kind of approach.
4. Keep in mind that spousal support will probably end when you remarry. If your divorce agreement includes alimony, this may end upon remarriage. So be sure to factor that into your income.
5. Update all your documents. Make sure that beneficiary designations on IRAs, 401(k)s or life insurance policies accurately reflect any changes. Update wills, health care directives, and other estate planning documents to reflect your new marriage.
6. Communication is key. Hopefully all those involved in the children's lives are on board with putting their happiness first, which could make adding someone to the family a much smoother process ... and hopefully a rewarding, positive one too!
7. Learn from your past. Trust your instincts. You survived the first marriage ending and have probably come away with so much insight -- maybe more than you realize. Trust that, learn from it, and come away a better person for having lived through it all.
What tips would you add? What insight have you gained after divorce?