Divorce can factor into retirement planning, social security

Wife giving back ring. Couple signing divorce papers.

Texas residents who have been through a divorce are often unaware that they may be entitled to social security benefits based on the employment record of their former spouse. A lack of understanding surrounding this issue leaves many individuals facing retirement with far less financial stability than they deserve. In addition, individuals who are considering divorce should be aware of this resource, and include it within their overall negotiation strategy.

In order to claim benefits from a former spouse’s work record, there are several requirements that must be met. The couple must have been married for a period of at least 10 years. Both the party wishing to make the claim and their former spouse must be at least 62 years of age at the time a claim is made. In addition, the divorce must have taken place at least two years prior to the time a claim is filed.

The individual making a claim must also be unmarried at the time. Interestingly, there is no stipulation that he or she could not have been married to another individual in between the first divorce and the time of a claim. In addition, if an individual has been married twice and both unions lasted more than 10 years, then it is possible to target the higher-earning spouse and claim based on his or her earning history.

Texas residents should take the time to determine if they are entitled to these benefits. For those who are in the early stages of a divorce, it is important to understand how these social security rules will apply to your unique scenario, and whether this future source of income should play a role in the negotiation strategy employed during the divorce. Having a clear picture of all income streams that will apply during one’s retirement enables an individual to make the best possible choices at each stage of life.

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Source: Huffington Post, How Divorce Can Affect Your Social Security, Jim T. Miller, Nov. 11, 2013