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A hidden benefit for divorced spouses at retirement age

When a divorced spouse nears retirement age, there may be a benefit available from Social Security that could help those who are feeling a financial pinch in their retirement years.

Some divorced spouses are eligible for a Social Security benefit that is equal to one-half of their ex's full retirement amount. There are several requirements that must be met in order to receive these benefits, including:

-- The two must start receiving benefits at their full retirement age, which for most people is age 66.

-- The marriage must have lasted 10 years or longer.

-- The divorced individual is 62 years old.

-- The divorced person must remain unmarried.

-- The benefit to which the divorced individual is entitled from their own salary history is under the threshold of the potential amount received using the ex's wages.

For example, retiring early reduces the Social Security benefit, but delaying retirement increases it. This is something to keep in mind if you will be eligible for the divorced spousal benefit. On an added note, the divorced spousal benefit can remain unknown to his or her ex.

As the "gray divorce" numbers continue to climb, it is more important than ever that older spouses understand all of the financial elements divorce and retirement can bring.

When considering filing for a divorce, planning your financial future takes time and knowledge. An attorney can help ensure that you receive your share of the marital assets. In addition, a financial advisor can help with your planning to ensure the future of your finances after divorce.

Source: FinancialPlanning, "A hidden Social Security windfall for divorced women," Dana McLaughlin, accessed Aug. 23, 2016

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  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
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