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Divorce affects Social Security benefits in Florida

Patience is a virtue — this old adage admittedly carries a lot of clout in many aspects of people’s lives, and it also applies to divorce. Rather than rushing into divorce, it is wise to assess the situation and then determine the timing that will yield the most favorable results — with respect to Social Security benefits, in particular — before officially making the split in Florida. This is particularly true if one’s divorce has not yet lasted 10 years.

Social Security does offer benefits to otherwise qualified applicants who have divorced and were married for at least 10 years. Moreover, waiting a few months even after reaching the 10-year mark also has some advantages. This may allow a person who earned less than his or her spouse did to receive higher Social Security benefit payments.

A person who qualifies for retirement benefits can receive Social Security benefits, based on the record of an ex-spouse, if the pair have been divorced for a minimum of two years. However, if the person chooses to remarry, he or she typically can’t receive benefits on the ex-spouse’s record. This remains true unless the ex-spouse ends up dissolving his or her later marriage or the subsequent spouse dies.

It is helpful to anticipate how one’s decision to get divorced will affect his or her retirement benefits down the road. Sometimes, irreconcilable differences keep a couple from being able to keep a marriage going. However, if a couple has lasted for a decade, at least some benefits — specifically Social Security benefits — may be applicable. It is within the rights of both parties to seek their best interests when navigating the complex process of divorce in Florida.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, How divorce, remarriage impact Social Security, Robert Powell, Feb. 18, 2014