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Obtaining Social Security benefits after divorce

When Alabama residents get divorced, it is natural for individuals to think of the major assets belonging to the couple, and how those assets will be divided in the divorce. While assets like the family home, car and other purchases may come to mind first, there are also a number of other valuable assets that must be taken care of, including retirement plans, pension plans and the like. When these plans are valuable, it can make for a complex asset divorce.

Take, for instance, a spouse’s Social Security benefits, which may be provided to divorced spouses if certain requirements are met. Namely, if the person is at least 62 years of age, was married for at least 10 years, is unmarried now and is not eligible for a higher benefit themselves, the person may collect a Social Security retirement benefit based on their ex-spouse’s work record. There are also requirements for the former spouse to meet in that event.

Typically, the divorced spouse can receive up to 50 percent of the ex-spouse’s Social Security benefit. The particular amount may depend on a variety of factors, such as when the spouse takes the benefits.

There are further considerations that impact the receipt of benefits, however. For example, if the person remarries, as happens frequently, then he or she is no longer eligible for the ex-spouse’s benefit.

Ultimately, the benefits discussed above illustrate how it is important for individuals to have a complete picture of all marital property in mind when they are heading into a divorce. Whether a spouse obtains Social Security benefits, or a share of a person’s retirement plan or other asset, can make a big difference in terms of how the person approaches the division of property in the divorce.

Source: Huffington Post, “How divorce can affect your social security,” Jim T. Miller, Nov. 11, 2013