Social Security benefits may be up for grabs in divorce

On behalf of Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA posted in Property Division on Wednesday, November 20, 2013.

People in Maryland may have seen a recent advice article for those going through a divorce. With so much to think about, there are several sources of marital assets that can easily go overlooked. One of these potentially overlooked, but very valuable assets is Social Security benefits. While this won't be a major concern for younger divorcees, senior citizens need to take a close look at their Social Security situation when it comes time for asset division.

Over the last decade, divorce amongst senior citizens has been increasing more rapidly than any other age group. Generally, seniors have the benefit of years of savings in retirement accounts, pensions and other investments which can add up to a significant amount of money. These assets require a thorough analysis and valuation in a divorce, as some of these may be considered marital property, while others may be considered solely the property of the spouse who initially earned them.

In order to qualify for a portion of a spouse's Social Security in a divorce, there are a few conditions that must be met. First of all, the divorcing spouses must each be 62 years old, the age at which people qualify for Social Security benefits. In addition, the parties must have been married for at least 10 years. Certain people will not qualify if they are already entitled to greater Social Security benefits than their spouse or if they remarry. But those who remain single after their divorce should be entitled to up to a 50% share of these substantial benefits.

For older Americans, getting the most out of property division in a divorce is essential, as these assets are likely necessary to sustain their quality of life long after they stop working for their income. People in Maryland who have concerns about property division should always consult with an experienced family law attorney about their options, including those often-overlooked assets that can be the key to a prosperous single life.

Source: Huffington Post "How Divorce Can Affect Your Social Security," Jim T. Miller, Nov. 11, 2013