How Does Divorce Affect Social Security Benefits?

Florida residents going through an unfortunate divorce can wonder if the assets collected through the years of a partnership will be divided fairly. For those going through a gray divorce, the term for couples who divorce in their senior years, what happens to retirement funds and savings will also be a critical question.

Divorcees may also wonder if a spouse’s social security benefits will be available to them. When questions about retirement savings and social security eligibility arise during a divorce, a Tampa Senior Divorce Lawyer makes sure clients get answers and never miss out on these and other important benefits.

Contact a Tampa Senior Divorce Attorney for a Free Consultation

Schedule a free divorce consultation with the Tampa senior divorce lawyers at Robert Sparks Attorneys. Our consultations are confidential and there’s no obligation to you or your family. It’s a no-risk way to discover what to watch out for as your assets and your retirement benefits are examined and divided in divorce court.

If you feel we can help you safeguard your rights and retain more of what you’ve worked so hard for, we stand ready to represent you. We earn fair treatment for our clients in mediated divorces, collaborative divorces, and contested divorces decided in court. We safeguard clients of any age as they navigate the complicated waters of divorce.

Social Security Benefits from an Ex-Spouse

The Federal Government enforces strict rules on who can draw from someone else’s social security benefits. However, the benefits of one spouse can still be available to another spouse, even after a divorce has gone final.

As the Social Security Administration (SSA) explains, if you are married for 10 years or more, you have a right to social security benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record. These benefits are available even if the marriage ends in divorce.

These benefits are generally distributed according to strict guidelines, but mistakes can be made. The SSA offers several ways for those who have gone through divorce to appeal SSA decisions and seek a correction. If these challenges aren’t successful, victims who feel they’ve had social security support unfairly denied to them can sue the federal government.

Can I Receive Social Security Benefits from an Ex-Spouse If I Remarry?

If you marry again and remain married, you wouldn’t be able to seek social security benefits based on your ex-partner’s work record. However, your eligibility can change due to life events.

There are a few reasons you’d be able to again request social security benefits based on an ex-spouse’s work history. Your new marriage would have to end in one of the following ways:

  • Divorce, or
  • Annulment, or
  • Death

The death of your new spouse would mean you would once again be able to count on social security benefits stemming from an ex-spouse’s work record.

Of course, if you were to get married again, the right to seek social security benefits based on a past marriage would again be taken away.

What If I Also Have My Own Social Security Benefits to Draw From?

In some cases, both spouses contributed to individual Social Security accounts as they worked over the years.  If you also qualify for social security through your own work history, you may still want to draw support from your ex-spouse’s payout.

The Social Security Administration would provide you with the monthly benefit that was the biggest of the two, yours or your ex-partner’s. If your spouse earned more in social security benefits, you would want to forfeit your own benefits and receive the same. Unfortunately, you can’t earn from both work histories.

Dividing 401K and IRA Benefits in a Senior Divorce

Many senior citizen Tampa couples stand to earn much more in retirement benefits from their own 401K and IRA plans. This money would have to be fairly divided if the marriage ended in a divorce.

Senior citizens entering the divorce process can have a lot of anxiety about how retirement funds are distributed and if they’ll have enough to live on in the aftermath.

A judge would have to determine what portion of retirement money and investments could be considered  “marital property.” 401K contributions that each partner saved up before getting married may not be subject to divorce allocation. The contributions and dividends made during the marriage would be considered marital property and eligible to be divided.

This math can be complicated, and one partner can get an unfair share of retirement assets without even knowing it.

Our Tampa Senior Divorce Attorneys know the ins and outs of how a Florida court will handle your case and your assets. We work to maximize the benefits for our clients going through divorce. We want our clients to emerge from divorce with the economic stability to rebuild their lives and fully enjoy their retirement years.

You can learn more about how retirement funds are distributed in a gray divorce on our page about retirement funds in a Florida senior citizen divorce.

Speak with an Experienced Tampa Divorce Lawyer Today

Going through a divorce can be one of the most stressful events of your life. It’s especially difficult when a long partnership comes to an end. It’s important to know that you don’t have to face divorce alone.

With decades of collective experience, our Tampa senior divorce lawyers at Robert Sparks Attorneys have the knowledge of Florida divorce law you’ll need to fight for the best possible outcome in your divorce.

Having a skilled divorce attorney is especially important when the dissolution of a long-term marriage is under consideration. The additional assets partners may have collected together, including retirement and social security benefits, will be harder to divide in a manner that is acceptable to both parties. Allow our divorce attorneys to safeguard you during this difficult process and help you emerge ready to begin your new life.

Learn more about what we can do to help you by contacting us and scheduling a free divorce consultation today. We protect those going through divorce in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and the surrounding areas.