While it is something that many people give very little thought, the timing of a divorce is extremely important. Depending on your circumstances, when you divorce can affect everything from property division to your ability to receive divorced spousal benefits. This is just one reason why it’s always important to talk with a family law attorney about the specifics of your situation and your available options before making the final decision to move forward with a divorce.
If you are entitled to Social Security retirement benefits or Social Security disability benefits, it may surprise you that your ex-spouse may also be able to receive some of these monies. According to the Official Social Security Website, an ex-spouse is entitled to spousal benefits if you were married for at least 10 years and your ex-spouse is at least 62 years of age. Your ex-spouse must also remain unmarried to continue receiving spousal benefits.
Another stipulation to qualify for divorced spousal benefits is that the spousal benefits must be more than the benefits the other party would qualify for individually based on his or her own work history. If you are the ex-spouse and you are close to retirement age, you may be able to receive spousal benefits while also continuing to let your own retirement grow.
This is a complicated area of family law, and it’s important to understand exactly how the laws and requirements apply in your case. If you have questions about when may be the best time for you to plan to divorce or what kind of benefits or settlement you have a right to, talking with a family law attorney is the first step.
Source: Forbes, “Social Security Q&A: How Will My Benefits Change after Divorce?,” Laurence Kotlikoff, Jan. 31, 2016