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Retirement assets, Social Security benefits important considerations in “grey divorce”

Many of our readers may be aware that “gray divorce” has been increasing in recent years, and that this has raised concerns about retirement funding for couples who call it quits on their marriage as they make the final laps in their working years. While finances are an important consideration in any divorce, couples who divorce in their 50's and 60's do have unique financial considerations.

When it comes to retirement accounts and funds, the hard reality is that this money may be split up in divorce. This isn’t to say that all retirement assets are subject to division in divorce. It depends on the type of account, when the account was started, and who contributed to the account during the marriage. For couples divorcing at an older age, it is important to carefully address issues surrounding retirement assets. 

Another important area to consider for older couples contemplating divorce is Social Security benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, divorce spouses are eligible for benefits under their ex-spouse’s record, even if the ex-spouse is remarried, provided: the marriage lasted at least 10 years; the spouse seeking benefits has not remarried; the spouse seeking benefits is 62 or older; the ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits; and the spouse seeking benefits stands to receive a greater benefit under the ex-spouse’s record.

Those who remarry are usually not able to collect benefits on their ex-spouse’s record, unless that later marriage ends, whether by divorce, annulment or death. Also, one’s ex-spouse does not need to be receiving benefits for one to qualify under that spouse’s record, but the couple must have been divorced for at least two years before one is eligible.

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at the issue of Social Security retirement benefits and divorce. 

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