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What to Expect in a Subsequent Divorce


The overall divorce rate has declined in recent years. But among second and subsequent marriages, the divorce rate might be as high as 80 percent. Procedurally, a subsequent divorce is much different from a first divorce, as outlined below. That’s partially due to some recent legal changes, and partially due to the nature of a subsequent divorce.

However, one thing is the same. This procedure usually has a much happier ending if an assertive Somerville divorce attorney is on your side. A lawyer provides solid advice, effective advocacy, and important negotiating skills. All three of these things are necessary.

Pendente Lite (interim) Hearings

These hearings are not very common in some states, but they are usually an important part of a New Jersey divorce. At this hearing, the judge makes important temporary financial and custodial decisions while the divorce is pending.

Frequently, the temporary orders carry over to the final orders. Most people, including judges, do not like to admit they were wrong. So, pendente lite decisions often become permanent, unless the challenging party introduces strong evidence to the contrary.

The financial portion of these hearings is particularly complex in a subsequent marriage divorce. More on this below.

Strong advocacy is very important at divorce temporary hearings. Generally, judges make the aforementioned decisions with very little evidence. Therefore, it is usually better to reach an agreement with the other side. There is almost no way to tell what a judge might do. Any negotiations must take place from a position of strength. In this context, that goes back to advocacy skills.


Financial discovery during a subsequent divorce often involves classification matters. Commingling is usually an issue in these situations.

Assume Husband is a dentist. He has already been divorced once, which means his dental practice’s assets and debts have already been divided once. If Wife number 2 serves as his office manager and she does not get paid a salary, there are additional classification and division issues.

Retirement accounts are often controversial as well. Generally, these accounts were divided in the previous divorce. As a result, account owners often try to cling to what’s left. It’s important to remember that the non-owner spouse is not entitled to half the account. At the most, this person is only entitled to half the amount of money which accrued during their marriage.


The mediation rules have changed somewhat in recent years. Judges are more willing to enforce the good faith negotiation requirement. It is not enough to compromise on peripheral issues and adamantly stick to one’s guns on main issues. Overall compromise might be an issue that a judge takes into consideration when dividing assets.

Some new procedural safeguards are available as well. Domestic violence is a good example. If there are verified allegations of physical abuse, technological alternatives, like mediation via Zoom, are usually available.

But overall, mediation is unchanged. This alternative dispute resolution format, as per recent statistics, is about 90 percent successful, in most jurisdictions.

Reach Out to an Experienced Attorney

Divorce the second time around is different from divorce the first time around. For a confidential consultation with an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer, contact Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney at Law. We routinely handle matters in Somerset County and nearby jurisdictions.


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