What Happens to Social Security Benefits in Divorce?

A social security card

Divorce and remarriage can have a big, and complicated, effect on your social security benefits.  Numbers tell us that about four in ten marriages eventually end in divorce.

The retirement assets and financial picture for both spouses must be considered during the process of divorce.  Specifically, the equitable distribution and alimony analysis should include all existing IRA, 401k, brokerage, pension and social security benefits of each spouse.

While standard retirement assets can quickly be identified through financial statements, social security benefits are often overlooked.  Social security benefits may be an important aspect of the retirement plan for each spouse.  Therefore, it should be considered at the time of divorce, even if both spouses are under the age of 62 and not yet eligible to receive the income.

Social security benefits can also play a role determining how much alimony will be paid and for how long.  For example, future social security benefits that will be received by an ex-spouse can provide a basis for alimony to reduce or terminate once social security payments commence.

The social security administration has specific rules in place that include the ability for certain ex-spouses to be eligible for additional social security benefits if the marriage lasted ten or more years and ends in divorce.

Each spouse should ask themselves during the process of divorce, am I prepared for the immediate future of establishing my own household now that I am single AND will I be prepared for retirement in ten or twenty years?

These simple questions asked before the divorce is finalized will help to avoid major mistakes and omissions that are waived if they are not claimed during the divorce.

The law firm you choose to guide you through divorce should match your goals for divorce.

About the Author

Chadwick Layton, Esq. Collaborative Divorce AttorneyChadwick M. Layton is a marital law and divorce attorney at Mindful Divorce, P.A. in Palm Beach County, FL.  Mr. Layton is also a member of the Florida Bar Family Law Section, the Susan B. Greenberg Family Law American Inn of Court of the Palm Beaches and the Palm Beach Flagler Rotary Club.

Mindful Divorce P.A.
205 Worth Ave. Suite 303
Palm Beach, FL 33480
Phone (561) 537-8227
Office E-Mail: Chad@mindfuldivorcepa.com