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Social Security can be affected by divorce

Did you know that Social Security benefits can be affected by your Florida divorce? Even though you may not be close to retirement age, it is still important to understand the impact of a marital dissolution on your Social Security benefits. Family law professionals say that most couples are uninformed about the status of their benefits after a divorce, and they may miss out on financial compensation because of this oversight.

First among the list of important facts about Social Security: You can only claim your spouse's benefits if you have been married for at least a decade. If you have been married for nine years and 11 months, you are not eligible. This fact could lead some couples to intentionally delay their divorce in order to have more financial options.

So, what happens if you are married for a decade and then break up? You have several options. First, you can claim your own Social Security benefit, or you could rely on your ex-spouse's benefit. You are permitted to choose the higher amount. In some cases, divorced spouses can also claim both benefits; they start by pursuing the spousal benefit at full retirement age, 66, and then switch to their own program at age 70.

Choosing the last option allows your personal Social Security benefit to mature, allowing you to collect a larger benefit when you finally claim your own allowance. However, everyone's financial needs are different, so it may not make sense for you to wait for your own benefit to mature. If you are looking to collect Social Security benefits after a divorce, it may be wise to consult a financial or legal professional to find out which option is best for your personal monetary needs.

Source:, "5 Ways Divorce Could Impact Your Social Security Benefits" Matthew Illian, May. 05, 2014

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