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Posted on in Divorce

benefits of divorceMaking the decision to divorce can be one of the hardest decisions a person has to make. A couple at this crossroads has usually struggled for years trying to make their marriage work. It can be even more heartbreaking if there are children involved.

The aftermath of divorce can feel as if a death has occurred. In a way it has – the death of the marriage. This can leave a person dealing with all kinds of emotions, ranging from grief to sadness to anger. But there is also, many times, relief felt that the person can move forward.

In fact, research has shown that for women, once they move past the grieving stage, they are actually much happier for at least the five years following their divorce, often more content than they had ever been in their lives.

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According to Reuters and published in the Chicago Tribune, "if you’re divorced, it’s possible to claim Social Security spousal and survivor benefits from your ex." This strategy, according to Reuters, can up the ante when it comes to your benefits, and have you set for the years of retirement to come. With many divorcees nearing the retirement age (a different Tribune article reports that the divorce rate for people over the age of 50 has doubled between 1990 and 2010, meaning that there are a whole new slew of divorcees about to hit retirement this decade), knowing just what your rights are when it comes to Social Security is increasingly important.

According to Reuters, one woman "saw her monthly benefit rise to $2,200 form the $900 she’d anticipated" when she found out about Social Security spousal rules. The rule holds true whether your ex is alive or not—and can often "be the difference between living in poverty and a much more comfortable retirement," according to Reuters.

In 2011, according to the Social Security Administration and reported by Reuters and the Chicago Tribune, just under 7 percent of all persons receiving Social Security benefits were divorced, and "10.4 percent receiving survivor benefits were divorced." Once the divorce is over, especially if it’s some years before benefits would kick in, many people forget or don’t know that they have a claim to any Social Security benefits from their ex-spouse.

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