In most states, there is more than three months waiting period before legal divorce. It would be assumed that the three months of the waiting period (‘iddat) would already have passed before this action was taken. When the husband legally divorces his wife, it is considered a 2nd Category divorce (Talaqe Ba‘in), and would be counted as divorce Number 1 if it is the first time this has happened. The husband and wife would now be free to marry again. If they both decide to again get married to one another, then they can have their marriage re-registered through the State and their nikah re-announced.
If the husband files for divorce before observing the three months waiting period (‘iddat), as is possible in some States, it would not be considered a 1st Category divorce (Talaqe Raj’i). Rather, it would automatically be considered a 2nd Category divorce (Talaqe Ba‘in). In this situation, if the husband and wife decide to reunite, whether it is a day after the legal divorce or a year later, they would need to have their marriage re-registered through the State and their nikah re-announced. The reason is that the validity of marriage is a universal concept, whether inside of Islam and outside. For example, even if the couple fails to per- form nikah properly (which is Sunnah), a legal marriage is considered a valid marriage in Islam and equivalent to a nikah. That is why married couples who accept Islam do not need to have their nikah announced, because their legal marriage is recognized by society and by Islam as a formal start to marriage. Similarly, even if the husband fails to perform talaq properly as prescribed by Islam, a legal divorce is still considered a valid divorce because society and Islam recognize it as a formal end to marriage.