7 Tips for Re-Marrying When Kids Are Involved

picture of a family walking on the beach

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?

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the4m... the4mutts

I completely disagree on letting the ex have say in how your new household is run. Or even giving input. The only thing the ex should be concerned with, are if the children are happy, healthy, and nurtured.

The ex should MEET the new person, once it becomes serious. But they should have no say in chores, discipline (as long as it's not bordering on abuse) rules, or anything else.

My ex, my husband, and myself are all very close. We take each other's opinions into consideration on all these topics. But we are the exception, not the rule. Most ex/new significant other situations are not amicable. Most times, letting the ex (man or woman) have say, puts their foot in the door to feel like they can control things, and it leads to arguments.

Hell, that's how it was when I put my 2cents in about my exes new skank. She let the kids ride without carseats, had other men over while my husband was working, "forgot" (more like neglected to) feed my kids, and he just thought she could do no wrong, because she was 21, and still had that "never had kids" body. I actually had to with hold the kids until he agreed to stop letting her care for them. He didn't see the kids for 2 weeks (when normally he would see them 6 days out of 14)

After that, all was good. Kids' safety and well being comes first, everything else is extra.

Liv BySurprise

I'm sorry - am I the only one who read the above comment like this:  I completely disagree that your ex should have input into your household unless you're talking about my ex and his new skank?  The4mutts - you had a good point to start with - but then ruined it with your elaboration. 

i agree though - even if you have an amicable split, your ex has no business interfering with your new relationship. 

nonmember avatar Rebecca

I disagree with both previous commenters, it is important for the children that both households have similar or at least complimentary rules. If bedtime is at 9 at moms it should also be 9 at dads of pg 13 is off limits at dad's house it should also be at moms. How can the two families have the same rules if it is not discussed? My ex and I didn't always see eye to eye but we did discuss conflicting rules and that's not about control it is about stability for the children, something they need now even more than normal since their lives have already been rocked at least twice (divorce and now a new authority figure)

the4m... the4mutts

Liv: actually, what I meant, was that it doesn't work for the ex to have a say in MOST divorced situations.

My ex and I are very involved in each other's lives, even though I am remarried. Now, he had NO say in my choice of husband, or our house rules, but we discuss and try to agree.

The only reason I said anything about the ridiculous child my ex tried to date, was because she was negligent with my children. I called the police on her at one point, for having my children ride without carseats. She even had my (then) 8yr old sitting in the floor of the car, so one of her 19yr old friends could ride in the seat.

That is the only time I feel that ex-couples should have a say in new partners, when negligence or abuse is involved.

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