Most Florida residents will tell you that it is never too early to begin planning for retirement. That is especially true for spouses who are going through divorce. The decisions made during the property division process will shape the income of both parties for many years to follow. One financial planning matter that is often overlooked is the impact that divorce will have on each spouse’s Social Security benefits.

Many people are unaware that, if their marriage lasted for 10 years or more, they may be entitled to claim Social Security benefits against the employment record of a former spouse. That is true even if the former spouse remarried, or predeceases the spouse making the claim. Best of all, such a claim has absolutely no impact on the other party’s ability to access his or her own Social Security benefits, or to share spousal privileges with a new partner.

The ability to claim Social Security spousal benefits after a divorce will impact some individuals more than others. In some cases, this financial planning approach can make a world of difference in the eventual bottom line in terms of retirement income. Being able to claim spousal benefits allows an individual to postpone claiming against his or her own earnings record. That allows the benefit to grow until he or she reaches the maximum retirement age.

The best way for Florida residents to make a savvy property division strategy is by gaining a thorough understanding of all matters related to both property division and Social Security retirement planning. That is best achieved by working with a trusted family law attorney and a financial professional. Such an approach ensures that no details are overlooked when it comes to creating a fair and favorable property division settlement.

Source: madison.com, “Divorced? Here’s What You Need to Know About Social Security“, Dan Caplinger, Oct. 12, 2017