What financial help can you get after a divorce?

Divorce can hit your funds hard. Not only will you need to pay fees and give up some of the property you once considered yours, but you may also lose future income.

Perhaps your spouse earned to help pay the bills, or maybe they provided free childcare so that you could spend more time working without needing to pay someone to look after the kids. Once you separate, you will not have that contribution.

Recovering financially from divorce takes time

Financial recovery often takes women longer than men, but both can suffer. Therefore it is crucial to understand the opportunities available to help get your finances back on track:

  • It can be easier to claim federal student aid: This is assessed on your household income, so your child is less likely to qualify if you both work while married. Once you separate, financial aid officials will look at the parent’s income with primary custody, disregarding what the other parent earns.
  • You can claim spousal Social Security benefits sooner: If you stay married, you cannot claim Social Security through your spouse until they do. If you divorce, you may be able to do so once your spouse turns 62 years old, regardless of whether they claim their part or not. You need to have been married for at least 10 years to do this, though.
  • You can access retirement funds sooner: If you are entitled to a share of your spouse’s retirement fund, you can seek a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to withdraw your part when you divorce. You can then either invest it in a separate retirement fund or, if you prefer, use it to help you get financially ahead post-divorce.

Finding out more about your financial entitlements during and after your divorce will be crucial to getting over any financial hurdles you may encounter as soon as you can.