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Are Social Security benefits at risk during divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 22, 2021 | Property Division

With divorce comes many challenges. Finances are often the main concern when a couple is considering divorce. As more couples decide to divorce later in life, the possibility of losing Social Security benefits can be a very real concern. There are many factors that go into determining financial settlements during a divorce. Social Security benefits may come into consideration, depending on the specific circumstances of the divorce. 

How are Social Security benefits divided during divorce? 

This issue with Social Security benefits during divorce usually comes from questioning if one party has the right to spousal benefits. When a couple has been married for at least 10 years, the lower-income earner may be entitled to half of the benefits earned by the party who earned a higher income during the marriage. This situation can be complicated, and it often requires the courts to work out the agreement. 

The concept of spousal Social Security benefits comes from a time when it was common for only one person to work outside the home. Now, as marriage dynamics have changed, many couples have both partners working outside the home. This can create some complications once the couple divorces if one or both are eligible for Social Security benefits. In some cases, the ex-spouse may be entitled to up to 50% of the other party’s benefits at full retirement age. 

Financial advice during divorce 

When it comes down to it, finances can cause an otherwise amicable divorce situation to become hostile. As the rate of gray divorce goes up, there are more couples who may need to consider their Social Security benefits when assets are divided. Whether the ex-spouse is entitled to spousal benefits varies greatly with each divorce proceeding. Individuals in New Jersey who are facing a gray divorce can seek legal advice from an experienced attorney to understand the best way to proceed.