I am often looking for inspiration on topics to write about for or law firms blog. Recently, inspiration walked in the door in the form of a consult. The potential client who was inquiring about whether he could get his ex-wife’s new marriage terminated or voided?
For the purposes of this blog topic let’s pretend that he and his wife had divorced on the 1st of the month and the ex-wife remarried her new husband on 30th of that same month.
Although, I do not know much from my conversation with him my guess would be based how quickly the ex-wife remarried is perhaps there had been some overlap in her relationships. My take away from our conversation was that the divorce had not been amical and there was some lingering resentment.
30 Day Waiting Period
I have never devoted an entire blog on this topic but I have discussed that Texas has a 30 day waiting period after a divorce prior to remarriage in my blog posts “Am I Married? - Marital Status in Texas” and “How Long Will My Texas Divorce Take?”
Not all states do not require a divorced person to wait before remarrying, however under 6.801 of the Texas Family Code a person in Texas is free to marry again 30 days after the judge signs their final divorce order, called a “decree.” It is important to note that:
- The 30-day waiting period begins the day after the judge signs their final divorce order
- This means the 31 after the judge signs the divorce order is the earliest day you can legally remarry.
- the Judge does not always sign the Decree on the same day that you appear in court.
Respect the 30 day Waiting Period
There are some good reasons to Respect the 30-day waiting period including:
If someone decides not to wait the entire thirty-day period and remarries too early, the new marriage is “voidable” and may be challenged for a period of time.
A motion for new trial can be filed 30 days after a Judge signs the final divorce decree and reopen the divorce case.
If the parties have been involved a bitter divorce it would not be unexpected that just because the divorce is over an ex may be looking for excuse to cause problems even after the divorce.
If one of the spouses has a substantial change in assets during the 30-day period may cause the “ex” spouse to wonder whether the property was actually owned prior to the divorce, and look to reopen the case.
In the caseBaqdounes v. Baqdounes, No. 01-07-1102-CV, 2009 WL 214508 (Tex. App. Jan. 29, 2009) the 30 day waiting period became an issue because the husband in the case argued that the marriage was void because his wife had not waited long enough to marry him after her prior divorce.
In this case the Trial court agreed with the husband and granted the husband summary saying the marriage was void. The wife then appealed and one that on the basis that:
- Yes, her ceremonial marriage was void but
- She was common law married to her new husband after the waiting period was up
The wife did ultimately win that she was married but I can only imagine that she had to spend an incredible amount of money on legal fees. It would have been a lot cheaper for her and her husband had they both respected the 30-day waiting period.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE 30-DAY WAITING PERIOD FOR GETTING REMARRIED
Exceptions to this rule include:
- Divorcing spouses under 6.801(b) may still remarry each other at any time and
- In certain cases, under section 6.802 of the Texas Family Code a Judge will waive the 30-day waiting period if good cause shown. This requires filing a motion to request the judge to do so.
Examples of why a Judge may grant a waiver of the 30 days waiting period include:
- Health of one of the parties
- One of the parties is scheduled to take a permanent duty reassignment in other party of the world
What I ended up explaining to the person that came to meet me regarding getting their ex-spouses new marriage terminated is that she did not really have standing for that purpose. His legal options were:
- Filing for a new trial
- Saving his money for bringing a modification in regards to the kids should the need arise
I also explained that just like the case mentioned above that not respecting the waiting period may cause his ex some problems should his ex-go through another divorce.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
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