Retirement: The Impact of Divorce on Social Security Benefits
Divorce and Social Security Benefits Attorneys in Brick and Sea Girt NJ
Serving clients in Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, and across Ocean and Monmouth Counties
Divorce can be financially devastating to individuals who have been married for a significant amount of time. When considering an alimony agreement during divorce or civil union dissolution litigation, it is important to anticipate your eventual retirement and the potential income stream available to you. With today´s post-divorce life expectancy easily exceeding two decades, whatever amount is finally decided upon, should be sufficient enough to enable you to survive comfortably while still working and throughout retirement.
Retirement assets are subject to equitable distribution between spouses during a divorce. In New Jersey, older couples who have been married for over 10 years may be able to receive a portion of their former partners’ Social Security, pension, and if applicable their military retirement benefits.
At Bronzino Law with offices in Ocean and Monmouth Counties, our family law attorneys have extensive specialized knowledge to discuss, draft and finalize marital agreements of all kinds, and to properly address the issue of alimony in New Jersey.
Collecting Social Security Benefits After a Monmouth County Divorce
In the event of divorce, divorced spouses may still collect Social Security benefits based on their former spouse’s work record, if they are:
- 62 years or older,
- entitled to Social Security benefits, and
- not receiving a higher social security benefit based on their own work history.
Brick Lawyers Help Determine The Start of Federal Eligibility for Benefits
Under federal law the ten-year period “clock” begins running the day marriage becomes valid and ends on the day the divorce is final; which is generally the day the court grants the divorce. Technically, it is possible to remarry the same person and still be eligible, if the time in the first marriage and the second marriage both add up to ten years.
How do I apply to receive an Ex-Spouse`s Social Security?
Applying for benefits can be a relatively simple process. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov and submit the following required documents to prove that you are entitled to receive your ex-spouse’s benefits:
- Birth certificate/proof of birth.
- Proof of citizenship.
- W-2 forms or self-employment tax forms from the previous year.
- Copy of the marriage certificate.
- Copy of the final divorce decree.
Can Early Retirement impact my Benefits?
If one spouse retired before the age of 65, a New Jersey court will consider the reasonableness of the retirement and the retiring spouse’s motivation, in order to balance the interests of the retired person against the interests of the spouse needing support.
A spouse who retired early, as a result of health concerns, extreme physical demands of their former job, or due to a large financial incentive, may not necessarily have to pay alimony at the pre-retirement level, especially if the reduction on the supported spouse may be minimal.
Will I still receive Social Security Benefits if my ex-spouse is deceased?
If your ex-spouse has passed away, you can still receive any benefits that they might have accrued under Social Security, if you two were married at least 10 years. In some circumstances (i.e., a disability) it may also be possible to collect the benefits earlier, at age 60 or even younger, at age 50.
Can I Still Receive Benefits if Married a little under 10 years?
- you actively care for your ex-spouse’s children,
- the children are disabled or under 16 years of age,
- the children can receive child support benefits based on your ex’s work record,
- the benefits you receive are payment in exchange for caring for the children, and
- the benefits you receive will end once the youngest child turns 16.
In addition, if you had been married 9 years when a divorce complaint is filed, and the divorce decree is issued six months later, neither marital partner can claim 50% of their ex-spouse´s social security benefits because the length of the marriage will be 9.5 years or 6 months short of eligibility.
Contact Ocean County Divorce and Social Security Lawyers Today
The timing of and approaches to divorce and division of assets can become very complicated. It is important to consult a divorce attorney who is experienced in divorce law and who understands how divorce can affect your income and benefits options for the long term—including those related to income generation after retirement.
In any divorce, there is a great deal of uncertainty. Questions about alimony often compound unresolved issues about your future, your rights, and your responsibilities. Fortunately, with a seasoned divorce attorney on your side, you can make informed, confident decisions that best serve your interests.
Contact the Monmouth law offices of Peter Bronzino at 732-812-3102 today, to understand your available options. One of our New Jersey divorce attorneys will answer your questions and provide you with a cost-free initial consultation.