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Social Security plays a role in divorce, property division

For older Missouri spouses who are considering divorce, the financial aspects of the end of a marriage are of the utmost importance. In order to structure the most advantageous property division settlement during a divorce, it is imperative that spouses gain a comprehensive understanding of their current financial scenario. It is also necessary to have a working understanding of any and all projected income during retirement.

Social Security benefits factor into the various income streams that seniors can depend upon. In fact, for those who were not able to set aside significant retirement savings through 401(k) accounts or their investments, Social Security can comprise the bulk of monthly income during one's later years. This makes it even more important to understand how divorce affects Social Security.

For divorced spouses, it is possible to claim a spousal benefit based upon the Social Security earnings record of a former spouse. To do so, the marriage must have lasted for at least ten years, and must have concluded at least two years prior to making the initial claim. Interestingly, individuals who were married two or more times for a period of at least ten years have the option of selecting which former spouse they would like to base their claim upon, allowing them to select the higher-earning spouse.

The rules surrounding Social Security benefits can be confusing, and there are a wide range of options available to allow Missouri spouses to structure a strategy that maximizes their overall benefit levels. As a rule, those who can afford to wait to begin claiming benefits will receive a larger payment amount when they do begin receiving payments. While it may involve an extra measure of time and effort, understanding how Social Security works after a divorce can help spouses make informed decisions during the property division portion of the process.

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

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