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Social Security planning and divorce

Alaska couples whose marriages are ending should conduct Social Security benefits planning along with planning for their retirements after the divorce. One thing that some people may not realize is that even after a divorce, a person may claim Social Security retirement benefits based on their ex-spouse's earnings record while they are still working if their marriage lasted long enough.

While a person can begin drawing the retirement benefits based on the ex-spouse's record beginning at age 62, it may be a better idea to do so until the person reaches the full retirement age, currently set at 66. If the person who will be drawing the benefits already has a significant income from work, they can then wait until age 67 to switch to receiving their own benefits if they will be greater than that of their ex-spouse's.

The Social Security retirement benefits based on an ex-spouse's earnings does not affect the ex-spouse's own retirement benefit payment amounts. People can expect to receive one-half of the amount their ex-spouse receives for the monthly payment. If a person does elect to begin drawing them at age 62, they should expect that they will be paying Social Security about one dollar for every dollar earned.

In a high-asset divorce, thinking about how a person's future retirement may be impacted after their divorce is often an important consideration. Social Security retirement benefits that a person will receive in the future should be taken into account. People may want to speak with a family law attorney about how they can best do the financial planning necessary to ensure their interests and rights will be protected after the divorce is final. An attorney may be able to address the client's future ability to retire and then use that to negotiate a well thought-out agreement.

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