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Divorce can affect Social Security payouts

Anyone familiar with governmental rules knows that they can be wordy, tough to understand and come with contingencies. The rules for Social Security payouts after divorce are no different. While there are a few straightforward policies, there are also some twists and turns for individuals, including folks in Florida. But the rules are designed to protect ex-spouses from being exploited by the vindictive behavior of their ex. 

The basic policy is that a couple must be married at least 10 years in order to be able to claim benefits on their ex-spouse's work record. But what about couples who divorce and then remarry -- and then divorce again? How is the 10 year policy calculated? A couple must have remarried within one calendar year in order for the two marriages to be counted together for the 10 year rule. 

Another rule relates to one's ability to suspend benefits. A person is only able to suspend benefits within a 12-month period after beginning to receive them. Even if a spouse files for divorce after claiming benefits on the other record, if it falls outside of the 12 month window, the person cannot suspend the benefits to prevent an ex from receiving benefits. Outside of the 12 month window, once a person has achieved full retirement age, he or she can suspend benefits to allow the benefit amount to grow, but can not limit an ex-spouse's benefits. 

Financial considerations are an important part of divorce. Individuals in Florida who are considering divorce have a lot of details and options to sort through. An experienced family law attorney can offer guidance to individuals who are looking for help in protecting their financial interests. 

Source: investmentnews.com, "Surprising Social Security rules on divorce", Mary Beth Franklin, Aug. 16, 2017

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