Divorce can be one of the most challenging experiences of a person’s life, and unfortunately, many people will go through this difficult process more than once. However, if you are divorcing for the second time in the Midwest, you may feel as though you are unlucky in love and face other emotional difficulties as you prepare for your second round of divorce proceedings. While a second divorce is likely to unfold similarly to the first, there are some unique issues that might arise that reflect your prior divorce.
While a second divorce can be more complicated than a first in many ways, it’s also easier because going through the process a second time means you have the experience of your first divorce to draw upon. You may be dismayed about a second marriage failing, but ultimately you could have an easier time with your second divorce than you did with your first. However, you should be prepared for any outstanding financial issues from your first divorce to influence your second.
How Can a Prior Divorce Affect a Second Divorce?
Some divorcing spouses can make “clean breaks” from one another. If they do not have children together and share limited assets, it is unlikely that their divorce will require any long-term legal agreements between them, and for the most part, both spouses will be able to move on with their lives once they complete their divorce proceedings. However, this is not the case for every divorce, and it’s possible for a first divorce to influence a subsequent divorce in several ways. This is especially true regarding the financial aspects of divorce.
The most important of such issues are child custody and child support. If you are divorcing for a second time and already have a standing family court order from a previous divorce, this court order may include child support and child custody terms. For example, you may still be paying child support for a child from your first marriage. However, if your second divorce involves a new child custody and support determination, the judge handling your case must take your prior family court order and your associated legal obligations under this order into account.
When it comes to child support, the court must evaluate numerous factors to determine the level of financial support a child should receive from both their parents. If you already have a child support obligation from a previous marriage, the child support determination from your second divorce must take your previously instated support obligation into account. Some parents who pay child support may be able to file petitions for modification of their original support orders in response to their new financial obligations from their second divorces. However, it’s more likely that the previous support obligation will reduce the amount of income used to calculate a second support obligation.
Similar to child support, alimony determination in a second divorce may be influenced by any alimony agreements from the first divorce. If you are already paying alimony to your previous spouse or if you are receiving alimony payments from a previous spouse, these alimony terms will influence the outcome of an alimony determination in a second divorce. For example, the alimony you already pay to your first ex-spouse will reduce the total income used to calculate your alimony obligation to your second ex-spouse.
Best Practices for a Second Divorce
Ultimately, every divorce case is unique regardless of whether a spouse is divorcing for the first, second, or third time. Some people marry and divorce many times, resulting in unique legal proceedings. Regardless of the reason underlying your second divorce, there are a few best practices to keep in mind to streamline the process as much as possible and secure the best possible results:
- Find the right divorce attorney. Legal counsel you can trust is crucial in any divorce. You may even be able to return to the attorney who represented you in your first divorce case, depending on your situation and whether the attorney is available. Whatever your situation allows, legal representation is crucial.
- Do not rush your proceedings. Do not make the mistake of assuming that you have “been there and done that” when it comes to a second divorce. Every divorce case will entail different legal issues and unfold uniquely. Take your time in your approach to your divorce and work closely with your attorney to develop a legal strategy that aligns with your best interests.
- Don’t use your first divorce as a reference. While there may be many similarities to your first divorce, and you can draw upon past experiences to help you prepare for your second divorce, you should not expect the exact same experience in your second divorce as you had in your first. Again, your attorney can help you identify the unique challenges and opportunities the second divorce entails.
- Consult your attorney about the potential for modifying your first divorce order. If your second divorce poses difficulties in maintaining the responsibilities set forth by your first divorce order, you should consult your attorney to determine whether you have grounds to petition for changes to your first divorce order.
Divorce can disrupt your life in many ways, and if you have already gone through the divorce process once before, it is easy to feel distressed and uncertain about your situation as you brace for a second divorce. Whatever your situation may entail, legal advice you can trust is invaluable in this challenging situation.
An experienced divorce attorney can assist you in evaluating the various ways your prior divorce may influence your second divorce. In addition, you may need to address outstanding issues from your first divorce as you navigate the legal proceedings your second divorce entails. Ultimately, the best asset you can have in this challenging situation is experienced legal counsel. If you are preparing to divorce for the second time in the Midwest, consult an experienced family law attorney who has the experience and resources necessary to efficiently guide you through your case.