Remarriage Laws: What are Your Rights as a Second Wife?

As the average lifespan of man increases, the number of second and third marriages have also increased, exponentially. Widowers and widows are now more likely to meet another person who can fill the gap that their first husband or wife left. However, the decision to remarry later in life brings about legal issues that most people don’t even bother thinking through.

This article about remarriage laws will clear all your uncertainties about a second wife’s rights after her husband’s death.


Know your rights before saying “I do” to someone who was previously married. Image courtesy of Flickr.

Know your rights before saying “I do” to someone who was previously married. Image courtesy of Flickr.


Divorce Ruling

When a divorce has been approved, former spouses will no longer have obligations to one another, except for certain stipulations in the divorce decree. It affects second wives rights because the court decides whether the first wife can still visit her children, receive financial support from her husband or claim certain assets and properties. Usually, divorce decrees also have a clause for ending financial support when one of them gets remarried.

Wills and Estate Planning

Certain remarriage laws also govern estate planning and the creation of wills. A will serves as a legal document that clarifies how a person wishes to distribute his or her assets upon death. However, wills are not meant to supersede federal or state laws and they can’t take the place of court orders as well. But when there are no court orders or state laws available, second wives rights will greatly depend on the last wishes of the deceased.

Marriage and Your Rights

In most cases, the rights of a second wife are similar to the privileges of a first wife, as long as there are no conflicting orders in the divorce decree of the husband’s first marriage. Remarriage laws usually entitle second wives to special rights that she would not have if she was still dating or cohabiting with her partner. The rights to the assets of a husband can also be eliminated through post- or pre-nuptial agreements.

Separate Contracts and Agreements

While laws for remarriage vary from one state to another, marriage contracts are recognized in every state. When determining second wives rights, there is also an order used to determine which laws supersede other legal instruments. But all kinds of agreements can still be created, separate from the rights granted by law, marriage or any other legal contract. Second wives can’t take rights that technically belong to others, but she can still renounce them through a separate contract.

These are the most important factors you should consider before marrying someone who was previously married to another person. Once you’ve become familiar with your rights as a second wife, you’ll no longer need to worry about losing certain privileges that you’re entitled to receive.