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Is Divorce the Answer to Receiving More Social Security Benefits from an Ex?

Social Security BenefitsSocial Security can be one of the most complicated aspects of handling a gray divorce. Gray divorce occurs when individuals over age 50 or so opt to terminate their marriage.

As many of these individuals are approaching retirement and may have their own assets to support them in retirement, divorce can have significant repercussions for the finances of both parties in a couple.

Social Security and Second or Third Marriages

One of the more complicated situations involving Social Security and divorce can emerge for an individual who is in their second or third marriage, but may have a previous spouse to whom that individual was married longer.

If the first spouse has a higher amount of Social Security benefits, it can be tempting to think about getting divorces from the second husband in order to receive higher levels of benefits. Of course, this is a highly personal decision.

While it is certainly true that you could divorce a current spouse in Florida and collect additional divorced spousal benefits, these benefits could actually be zero in the event that you had too much income in comparison with what your ex earned.

You may be eligible to collect excess spousal benefits if:

  • You and your spouse were married for ten years or more
  • You meet one of the following two requirements: that you were divorced for at least two years and your ex is over age 62, or that your former spouse is already receiving benefits.

Also Read: Tips for Getting Divorced When It Is Your Second or Third Marriage

Excess Benefits

Once you begin to take your own retirement benefits, you are no longer eligible to take a spousal or divorce spousal benefit on its own.

If you were to take a divorce spousal benefit on its own, you'd collect full divorce spousal benefits or full spousal benefits equal to half of the husband's or ex-husband's full retirement benefits.

However, if you are already electing your own retirement benefits, Social Security may allow you an excess benefit in addition to what you are already receiving.

This excess benefit equals half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement benefit less all of your own retirement benefit. Simply put, this means your total divorce spousal benefit minus your own complete retirement benefit is the maximum you could receive in this situation.

Also Read: Tips for Getting Divorced When It Is Your Second or Third Marriage

What to Do After Your Divorce is Finalized

Once your divorce has been finalized, if you chose to go forward with this option you could be eligible to file for the excess divorce spousal benefit and collect it in conjunction with your reduced retirement benefit.

The biggest benefit in doing this applies to situations whether this excess divorce spousal benefit is big enough to make sense as well as revising your estate plans.

Gray Divorce and Retirement/Asset Issues

While any divorce can present a unique set of challenges requiring the insight of a family lawyer, this is especially true for individuals who are older. Accumulating many years worth of income and assets makes property division all the more challenging.

This is why you need to consult with a divorce lawyer if you or your spouse are nearing or after the retirement stage and are considering getting divorced. With so many legal issues to untangle, the right attorney can make a big difference.

If you choose not to get divorced, however, your current spouse may be eligible to collect a full spousal benefit from your work record between ages 66 and 70 and then take his or her own retirement benefit.

Another reason to consider this is to maximize an excess widow's benefit that you could collect from a husband's work record if he were to die prior to you.

As you can see, the issues involved with Social Security and getting married and divorced later in life can be extremely complex.

Contact An Experience Florida Divorce Lawyer for Legal Help

It's strongly recommended that you consult with a Social Security benefits specialist and you own accountant in addition to a family lawyer before making any sudden moves.

In the event that you have decided that divorce in Florida is right for you, identifying the right attorney is the appropriate next step.

Discover some key tips for handling your second or third divorce:

MEP-family law attorney

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135 San Lorenzo Avenue, Suite 650
Coral Gables, Florida 33146
Fax: 305-234-7028
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