When divorce occurs may matter for benefits

When it comes to divorce and possible benefits, timing may be everything. Some people may not realize this fact, but the length of a marriage in Maryland can play a role in determining eligibility for certain benefits. In particular, eligibility for Social Security benefits can hinge on the timing of a divorce.

If a couple is married for 10 years or more, the spouse earning less may be entitled to Social Security benefits once the other spouse reaches retirement age. The date of finalization of divorce determines the eligibility. For some, this realization may propel them to file and finalize a divorce before that 10 year mark, or propel one party to hold off on filing until that 10 year time period is reached.

If a spouse remarries, they can't get the Social Security benefits from their first spouse. However, if that second spouse dies, or those parties end up divorcing, the spouse can then qualify for the benefits from the prior spouse. A recent study revealed that very few people understand how Social Security benefits are calculated, much less how an ex-spouse may be entitled to those benefits.

Knowing the facts about how divorce impacts Social Security and retirement accounts may be vital for any Maryland party who is considering filing or knows the other spouse plans to file. When it comes to any kind of financial settlement regarding a divorce, understanding the implications of remarriage is also vital. Even if retirement is pretty far down the line, knowing what to expect and how divorce will play a role even decades later can help parties plan for the future while they decide on the present.

Source: marketwatch.com, How divorce, remarriage impact Social Security, Robert Powell, Feb. 18, 2014