Tag Archives: Seniors and Divorce

Social Security and How It Affects Your Divorce

Know your options when it comes to your Social Security benefits if you are divorced and nearing retirement age. A financial professional can help.

by Tracy S. McKenney, CFP®, CDFA™
Irvine, California

When a couple divorces, you may wonder whether anything happens to their Social Security benefits.  What if the husband has been employed the entire marriage and the wife has stayed home with the children?  Do they split the husband’s Social Security benefit at retirement?  What if one of them remarries?

First, divorce laws are different from state to state.  Social Security is a federal program and can’t be overridden by

divorce laws or a divorce judgment in any individual state including California.  California courts cannot issue a divorce judgment to ‘split’ Social Security payments at retirement, because the federal rules governing Social Security override them.

What does the law say about Social Security and Divorce?

As of summer 2016, if a person has been married longer than 10 years and then gets divorced, the ex-spouse can receive 50 percent of their former spouse’s Social Security benefit –OR- 100 percent of their own Social Security benefit.  Notice: you can collect only ONE benefit, not both.

For example, “Dolly” and “Dennis” got divorced when Dolly was age 52, and Dennis was age 54.  Dennis decided to start collecting Social Security when he turned … Read More “Social Security and How It Affects Your Divorce”

The Gray Divorce

Game of chess

by Leslee J. Newman, CFLS, Family Law Attorney

Although divorce rates in the United States have seen a decrease in the last decade, divorce rates for couples over 50 have doubled. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2010, one out of every 20 people in the U.S. who divorced was over the age of 65!   Now, with the retirement of the “Baby Boom” generation (persons born between 1946 and 1967), the numbers of divorcing seniors is expected to escalate.  This phenomenon is often referred to as “gray divorce.”

Some reasons for this increase in gray divorce include the following:

  • There’s no longer a social stigma for seniors divorcing.
  • Seniors are living longer and are generally healthier.
  • Our culture promotes happiness.

A few years ago, a Chicago area billboard advertised divorce with a message that life was too short to be miserable.

Are you a senior and contemplating divorce? Have you helped a parent, colleague or friend who was in their 50s, 60s, or older get through their divorce? Does it make sense financially for a senior married couple to divorce?