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Can you retire after a divorce as a dependent spouse?

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2023 | Divorce

It has always been a common choice for one spouse to prioritize the family over their career even in families where both spouses work. After all, childcare and similar professional services can be prohibitively expensive and may cost far more than the spouse would earn working full-time.

Maybe you stopped trying to pursue promotions and simply let your career coast while raising your children, or maybe you left the workforce entirely because you have a child with special needs who requires around-the-clock care. You may be very aware of your own reduced earning potential and limited personal savings as you contemplate divorce.

Will you be able to retire if you don’t have sufficient savings in your own name to fund your retirement?

Retirement accounts are often subject to division

When you divorce after a lengthy marriage in Florida, you do not give up your claim to any property in your spouse’s name automatically. At least the deposits made into the retirement account during your marriage are typically part of your marital estate that you can divide in the divorce.

Even if you don’t split the actual account, what it is worth on paper can play a major role in how you divide other property. You don’t necessarily have to rely solely on your own retirement savings but rather on your equitable or fair portion of your marital estate, which includes the assets and income accrued by your spouse during marriage.

You may share Social Security benefits as well

Many working adults make sufficient contributions to Social Security to eventually qualify for retirement benefits. Of course, if you have only worked part-time or spent years out of the workforce, you may not have accrued as many credits with the Social Security Administration (SSA) as your spouse did.

The good news is that you can still potentially qualify for Social Security benefits after your divorce. You can claim the benefits that you earned in your own name, and you may also qualify to claim some of your spouse’s benefits. What you received can augment your own benefits or help support you if you don’t qualify for retirement benefits on your own. The good news is that making your claim will not diminish your spouse’s benefits.

Properly planning for your financial future will be key to living a comfortable life after your Florida divorce.