10/11/2012 12:28 pm ET Updated Dec 11, 2012

Before You Say 'I Do' Again

If your divorce was reported in a newspaper, it might sound something like this: "Cindy Smith Clark's ten year marriage to Josh Clark ended in divorce today when a Superior Court ruled irreconcilable differences that led to the irremediable breakdown of the marriage. Both parties were unavailable for comment."

Though this sounds cold, indifferent and unemotional, every day hundreds of marriages are dissolved by the stroke of a pen. What often remains, however, are fractured lives and whopping legal bills.

Just because a piece of paper says you are divorced may not necessarily mean you have emotionally accepted that your marriage has ended and are ready to tie the knot again. As an attorney who has practiced family law for 34 years, I have seen all the warning signs involving second marriage. And I know one thing for sure: over half of the calls and appointments in my divorce practice come from folks wanting to dissolve second marriages.

Until you no longer spend time grieving about your marriage, you are not ready to say "I do" again. To get to life after divorce, a life that will become more vibrant and fulfilling than your first marriage, it is imperative that you separate yourself from emotional issues that tie you down. Until then, postpone the prenuptials -- don't print the invitations to your second marriage, don't order the cake and yes, your fiancé must be put on hold.

To get psychologically ready to remarry, you need to rid yourself of the emotional baggage that may be weighing you down. If not, you will likely drag mental luggage into next relationship. Although you are trying to stay afloat, old suitcases will pull you under. Here are some things you can do:

Establish a new you: After divorce, clients often tell us they need to feel better about themselves. Perhaps it is doing something as simple as getting a new hairstyle, joining a gym or trading a gas-guzzling SUV for a sleek new coupe.

Establish your independence: In the twenty-first century, enlightened husbands and wives often dismiss gender stereotypes in marriage. When a couple divorces, tasks that you depended upon your spouse to do may rest upon your shoulders. As a result, you have more responsibilities. Before you say "I do" again, you must accept new roles and not rush into remarriage to find someone else to help out.

Take inventory of yourself: To improve your chances the second time around, take inventory of yourself and recognize anything you may need to change before you tie the knot again. Were you too aggressive when you should have been more passive? Too self-absorbed when you should have been more caring? What did you do that worked well and what always failed?

Accept being single again: After divorce, you must accept your new status as a single person before you can psychologically say "I do" again. Does any of the following behavior apply to you?

• I shy away from invitations when I know I will be the only single person there.
• I hate the look I get when I ask for "One movie ticket, please."
• I feel like a marked person with a sign on my head that says "loser."
• When I tell someone I am single, I feel I am negatively judged.
• Sometimes I put on my wedding band just to avoid having weirdoes approach me.

I don't want to see you in my office saying "I don't" again. Make sure that you are ready for the second time. The past is the past and the future has just begun.