Property division, retirement benefits among divorce issues

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The applicability of Social Security benefits is worthy of consideration when two divorcing individuals are planning for the future in Virginia. After getting divorced, a person has the right to claim his or her own Social Security benefits based on the ex-spouse's employment record, which can be a huge helping hand come retirement time. Both parties can benefit from being aware of Social Security-related issues and other issues such as property divisionas they calculate their financial budgets post-divorce.

A person doesn't need to be married in order to collect Social Security spousal benefits. This is because a divorcee's benefits can be based on his or her ex-spouse’s income history, which is a huge plus if the ex-spouse earned more money. However, this is only possible if the two were married for at least 10 years.

It’s also worth noting that a person can receive benefits on the ex’s record even if the ex has remarried. In addition, an individual’s decision to collect on the spouse’s income history will not have an impact on either party’s benefit amount. The ex likely will not know that one is collecting benefits based on his or her record.

If someone was married two or more times, the Social Security Administration will make sure that he or she gets the biggest benefit. The person must simply provide the appropriate marriage certificates as well as divorce decrees. Divorce can be complicated, particularly when dealing with complex asset and property division matters, but understanding laws related to these areas as well as to Social Security spouse benefits will help those going through divorce to be as financially prepared for the future as possible in Virginia.

Source: Forbes, "Getting Social Security Benefits After Divorce", John Wasik, July 21, 2014

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