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Social Security-based divorce issues important to consider

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Divorce can have a variety of repercussions on the lives of both spouses moving forward. However, Texas residents are reminded that not all divorce issues are immediately apparent following the proceedings. Some issues, like how divorce will affect Social Security and retirement, are so far in the future for some couples that they might be forgotten entirely. 

Benefits are a major part of this question. If an individual's work history is not long enough to claim his or her own Social Security benefits, he or she may have been banking on the benefits of a spouse to see him or her through. In the case of divorcees, if a marriage lasted longer than 10 years, spousal benefits are still generally available -- as long as the recipient spouse remains unwed. 

This is important information, given that four of 10 marriages include at least one spouse who had been previously married. Generally speaking, remarrying will end one's entitlement to the former spouse's benefits, to be replaced with the benefits of the current spouse after a year of marriage. The rules change somewhat for survivor benefits; if a former spouse remains unmarried until the age of 60, he or she will remain entitled to survivor benefits from the previous relationship. 

Divorce issues pertaining to future benefits from former spouses can be complicated. Texas residents fortunately have a wide variety of supports and resources available to them to help make sense of the legal jargon involved in working out exactly to what they are entitled. Seeking out this support is the first step in being adequately prepared for the divorce process.

Source: fool.com, "Social Security: How Divorce and Remarriage Affect Your Benefits", Dan Caplinger, March 28, 2015

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