Second Weddings

Planning a Wedding Before the Divorce is Finalized..?

My situation isn't ideal, but that's how life works right?  My BF and I dated for 3 years and broke up in 2009.  He ended up getting married to someone else a year later...Fast forward to present day and he has two kids, is going through a separation until his waiting period for the divorce to go through in September is up, and is anxious for us to get married -- has a proposal planned out and everything.  I know that he is the person I want to spend my life with, but I have reservations as to the 'etiquette' for this situation.  Neither of us want to wait very long to get married, and have discussed the idea of eloping as soon as his divorce goes through, but he didn't have an actual wedding the first time and I want my family to be present for my one big day.  How can you propose while you are still technically married though, and how can you be engaged to someone who is still married to someone else?  I just can't figure out the protocol with an engagement party and wedding shower if he proposes within the time frame of him still being married.  Thoughts, ideas, suggestions, life advice....anything? lol :)

Re: Planning a Wedding Before the Divorce is Finalized..?

  • I get what it's like to meet "the one" prior to being legally divorced. I met my DH during my divorce process, as my boss recommended I speak to him about the divorce process. My divorce was quick and painless, as I did not have kids and did not seek anything from my ex. However, given what I know about DH's divorce and my parents' divorce, I HIGHLY recommend waiting a bit after the divorce to get married. My reasoning is:

    1) Divorces are an unknown pit of problems. While mine took a total of 63 days (60 day waiting period), DH's took well over a year. My parents' took FOUR years. You never know what type of issues you are going to run into with the court system or with his ex. You could plan a whole wedding and get there and he could still be married. Plus, do you even know what his finances will be like when it's all said and done?

    2) It might not seem like it now, but divorce takes an emotional toll, even if you want it. I wanted out of my marriage ASAP. However, once I actually got divorced, I went through many emotions and needed to take time to learn from my mistakes and grow as a person. I did this even while dating my now DH, but it's not smart to immediately jump into another marriage without figuring out the failings of the first.

    3) There are kids involved. The kids may not take very well to the divorce. And as a father, he needs to be understanding of their feelings about this. We purposely did not marry until DH's oldest daughter graduated high school. She had a TON of emotional problems stemming from her parent's divorce. Us getting married would have sent her over the edge. Not only that, but *I* had a ton of issues getting used to having kids around. When you aren't "mom", it puts you in an awkward position and it can cause issues if you aren't on the same page as your SO. Take your time to work out those logistics.


    So, on the to etiquette part- if you really fee strongly about getting engaged before his divorce is complete, and his kids are okay with it, then go ahead and do that. People will definitely side eye it and will wonder WTF you are thinking. I personally would think you are insane, as I went through divorce myself. But, it's just an engagement at that point. I'd absolutely NOT plan anything for the wedding, including any parties, until the divorce is final. Do not book a venue, do not pick a bridal party, do not buy a dress. See how life if after the divorce is done and when the dust settles, then start to plan. There are some posters on here who have 2 years to plan a wedding, but in reality, you can plan a lovely wedding in a month or two.


  • My FI and I met 1 month before his divorce was finalized (they had been separated for 2 years already and she was engaged to someone else, just the legalities took awhile.)  

    If you guys feel really strongly about being engaged before the divorce is finalized you can, but just keep in mind that you can be committed to each other and wanting to spend your lives together without having to take that "official" step.  Never really a need to rush these kind of things, especially when kids are involved.  

  • I think it also depends on the reason for the divorce... Not saying this is the case but if you played a role in him getting the divorce family can be very very touchy over this. Also the ex wife may make is life hell with the kids,custody etc. if she feels betrayed... I went through a divorce and 3 months later my ex remarried... 2 years later they divorced... To go from one marraige into another isn't the best idea. Thers isn't time to find out what it's like on your own. You carry things from one relationship into the next. Also family and friends from both sides weren't ok with it. Only her family showed up to the wedding... I wouldnt suggest it. Give it time.. if you really want to be with him.. whats the rush?
  • Another can look very poorly on your BF in the eyes of the courts in terms of if your BF is engaged before his divorce is finalized.  Division of property, alimony, etc.
    Formerly known as flutterbride2b
  • jonekajoneka member
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited November 2014

    I agree with in Texas there is no such thing as a legal separation and dating before divorce is considered infidelity...that could put your FI in a bad situation during court in reference to alimony and child custody...

    I think you can plan the simple things such as color schemes, but major events in your and FI relationship should wait... formal of venues

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  • This is JUST a suggestion...
    Take a step back, and look at the big picture. There are so many components involved here. You both know that you want to be together, and that is understandable. However, there are kids involved and they WILL need a period of time to adjust to their circumstances.
    Perhaps a sit down with the kids, and all involved, to talk it through. You'll ALL be happier in the long run, and that's what matters most. :)
    Best Wishes!!!
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  • Hi!  I'm new to the boards as am just now starting to plan my second wedding too, but this time thought I could actually be of assistance!!!

    I'm a divorce attorney by profession, so I agree with the unfortunate comments that sometimes divorces take unexpected turns or extend longer than originally expected, so you should definitely factor that into your plan.  And also that it is CRITICAL to put the children first.  PLEASE. 

    Secondly, aside from the children, since I'm both divorced myself and seeing people do this literally every day, I would say that the only part of the timeline that is critical is the healing.  If their marriage was struggling for years and he mentally checked out a long time ago, he may be ready right away; I've seen that (although, personally, I would be worried if the person I wanted to marry had been content to check out of a marriage for years).  But if it was sudden or especially painful I would recommend lots and lots of individual and joint pre-marital counseling so that both of you can be sure that you're doing this for all of the right reasons after having fully resolved any feelings about past relationships, because I also see people 5, 10, 15 years post divorce (usually still dealing with issues with the children) who have not recovered and are not ready for a new relationship.

    Best of luck!!!
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