Making The Complex

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Social Security benefits and divorce

Creating a strong financial future requires forethought and attention. This can be difficult during divorce, which is not only a legal process but an emotional one as well. Divorce also commands one’s attention in many different ways, such as deciding how to divide marital assets to creating a child custody agreement. This may lead some people in Louisiana to overlook important areas of potential income, such as Social Security benefits.

Factoring in Social Security benefits

A spouse who did not work during a marriage or who earned significantly less might not think he or she can count on Social Security benefits for very much. However, it is sometimes possible to draw benefits based on an ex’s work history instead of one’s own. Here is how to qualify for these benefits:

  • The couple must have been married for 10 or more years
  • The divorce must have been finalized for at least two years
  • The person drawing on the ex’s work history must not have remarried.

There are some misconceptions that might be holding some people back from pursuing these benefits, though. For example, many adults believe that drawing these benefits will reduce how much their ex-spouses qualify for, which is not true. Other commonly believed myths include that:

  • Divorce decrees can ban ex-spouses from these benefits
  • It is necessary to wait for the other person to claim benefits first
  • It is possible to pick and choose which benefits to claim

Social Security benefits are far from the only financial factor to weigh when considering the future after divorce. There are also factors such as retirement accounts, alimony, child support and more to think about. Working closely alongside an attorney who is knowledgeable in these and other Louisiana family law matters can prove helpful for those who are unsure of where to start.


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