As mentioned previously on this blog, ‘gray divorces’ are on the rise. The divorce rate in people over the age of 50 has doubled since the 1990s, and as more and more people end their long-term marriages, they are throwing their financial lives into disarray. However, fear of financial upheaval should not deter people from ending their marriage, as there are steps that can be taken to mitigate the situation.

Virginia residents about to begin the divorce process should take steps to get their finances in order. After remaining married for so long, one party has generally ceded control over the family finances to the other party, meaning they do not have a foundation on which to build their future financial life.

Divorce affects household finances in many ways, as legal fees hit the bottom line in the short run and dividing the same income over two houses affects the divorcing couples in the long run. One way to ease the transition is by creating a realistic budget that forecasts how much it costs to live alone.

Another financial tip is to delay withdrawing one’s social security benefits for as long as possible. This can maximize the amount of spousal benefits that can be claimed. Additionally, not many know that they are eligible for their spouse’s Social Security benefits if they have been married for 10 years. This is true even if the other spouse does not have a work history of their own.

In addition to this, property division is one way couples can get some financial traction before going their own way. The court looks at various factors, such as the length of the marriage and financial standing of each party, to determine which party gets what in the divorce. It might help to discuss one’s options with an experienced attorney to get a better idea of how to ensure one’s financial stability after a divorce.