Getting married is a leap into the unknown the first time around, so you’d think that going for a second or third time would be easier. In reality, and according to everyone who has taken that second leap, if anything, it’s harder to decide. Are you lucky enough to have found someone to share your life and your future? If so, you need to ask yourself some soul-searching questions before making a commitment to remarry. Equally important, ask your future spouse the same questions. The advice of a family lawyer in Las Vegas will help you understand the implications of Nevada law for your new relationship, and the lawyer can suggest more questions to help you prepare for the future.
Taking time to discuss these issues before you tie the knot will prepare you for the next phase of your life and increase your chances of finding just the right person to share it. Keep in mind that there are no wrong answers, but these are the right questions to ask in order to learn key things about the relationship and your partner.
Why am I thinking of marriage now? What is motivating me to get remarried?
There will always be multiple reasons, and good ones, for wanting to remarry. However, if your motivation comes primarily from fear of being alone, you’re likely to overlook the more important issues, and maybe miss red flags warning you of trouble ahead. Your partner’s answers could reveal the same type of anxiety. If he or she is not marrying you for the special person you are, but more as a replacement to fill a void, you could be making a major mistake.
Even if you’ve already said yes and started planning the wedding of the century, you still need to examine the same questions and feel satisfied with the answers. Be willing to cancel if you discover this is not really the match you thought it was. It’s just as likely that you’ll uncover an even deeper level of understanding that will form the foundation of a better marriage.
What have I learned from my previous marriage?
This may be the toughest question of all to face, the one most people would just as soon avoid, at any age. For one thing, it means a lot of self-examination, to confront your own role in the failure of a first marriage. Equally important are the hard lessons learned about your first spouse, those unexpected surprise behaviors that contributed to the final outcome. Now’s the time to put your “20/20 hindsight” to good use, and think about red flags you overlooked in the bliss of romance, so you can avoid making the same mistakes again. Your new partner should be open to examining the same questions, looking for past errors that will help inform their behavior this time around.
How well do we fight?
There is no avoiding it—fighting is part of every marriage. There will naturally be some areas of conflict, or at least disagreement. Perhaps you haven’t had a chance to see your new partner in action during an argument. If not, then raise the question with him or her, to openly discuss respectful ways to handle conflict. Experts advise that you watch out for certain behaviors that suggest a need for counseling, like using the silent treatment, personal criticism, and defensive or disdainful behavior. How you overcome problems and communicate to resolve differences respectfully is an important part of a successful relationship.
Are our finances compatible?
Finance is among the toughest areas of all to discuss with a mate. Start by reviewing your current financial status and think about how it compares with your partner’s. If you haven’t done this for yourself, it’s vital that you start now. Financial self-awareness is as important as the emotional variety, and, in fact, the two factors cross over and influence one another directly.
Marriage is the ultimate legally binding contract, and this is one time when you should think of it as a business relationship. There’s no rule that says one partner can’t make more than the other.2 Many couples successfully divide roles with one as the breadwinner and one as the homemaker.
What’s really important is that you both understand how to manage money responsibly. If one spouse is deeply in debt, the other should know about it and be comfortable with that fact. Discuss how you will or will not share funds and pay bills. Will you use a joint account or not? If one spouse has significant financial assets, you need to know your state’s laws regarding community property. Consult with an experienced family law attorney in Las Vegas to discuss your options and the possible advisability of a pre-nuptial agreement.
Do we share the same goals?
You and your life partner need to be aware of each other’s vision of the future. It’s all too easy to assume you share the same hopes and dreams, but you won’t know if that is the case unless you discuss some specifics. A second marriage means you are both a little further along in your lives, with more existing commitments.
Are his commitments compatible with the new relationship? Is her ultimate ambition to sell the house, buy a sailboat, and travel the world? If you can’t swim, and you get seasick at the thought of sailing, there could be rough waters ahead. You don’t need to be in complete alignment. As with everything in marriage, there has to be some give and take, so that each person can explore their individual interests, and life doesn’t become too dull and predictable. If you share some interests and have the same broad goals in mind, you will find ways to build a life around them together.
How’s my relationship—and my partner’s—with their ex and/or their kids?
If your new partner was married before, there is an “ex” to think about, and, if there are kids, it’s a “yours, mine, and ours” situation for the foreseeable future. Get to know how your new partner deals with the ex. How much contact is there? Does your partner still play an active role in the ex’s life, fixing the plumbing or taking out the trash (it happens)? If so, there may be unresolved feelings, and your perfect partner may not be ready for a new marriage commitment. If there are children involved, everything becomes more complicated. It means they are still raising children together and you are now marrying into that extended family setup.
If you are bringing children into the new relationship, allow plenty of time for them to get to know your future spouse before sealing the deal, and for you to observe how they interact together, particularly how he or she treats your children. In shared custody arrangements, there are many opportunities for conflict to arise. Consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in child custody for Las Vegas and surrounding areas. If you both have children from prior marriages, you will be creating a new, blended family. Kids will find it challenging to adapt to living with new people and sharing more of their time, their space, and, especially, their parent, with them. Discuss how you plan to raise the children together, including education, discipline approaches, and how custody is shared with exes.
Does your new relationship make you feel loved?
It may be true that love alone is not enough for a successful marriage, but it is the most fundamental requirement of all, the foundation on which everything else in the relationship is built. If you trust one another, treat each other with respect, and are willing to forgive human error, you have a much better chance of developing a happy, rewarding relationship.
For more information about divorce, remarriage and more, consult an attorney who specializes in family law at https://www.mcfarlinglaw.com/practice-areas/