Do Retired Couples Face Different Property Division Challenges with Divorce Than Younger Couples?

Aside from the fact that younger couples usually have fewer assets than older couples, the main difference in property division is dealing with retirement accounts and Social Security benefits.

Retirement Accounts

There is a lot to understand about retirement accounts and you should discuss when you can receive distributions with your lawyer. You also want to be sure to avoid any tax penalties, so timing is important. Loans taken out against a retirement account should be repaid before any property division occurs with the account. Sometimes dividing retirement account benefits requires a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A QDRO is a separate court order that mandates distribution of benefits to the ex-spouse when the spouse with the retirement program begins receiving benefits. Plan administrators receive the QDRO, which obligates them to make the specified distribution share based on the divorce settlement.

Social Security Benefits

The Social Security Administration allows divorced individuals to receive Social Security benefits based on their ex-spouse’s record of paying into Social Security if:

  • They were married 10 years or longer
  • The are currently unmarried
  • They are age 62 or older

The ex-spouse would receive a benefit that is less than the ex-spouse who paid into Social Security, generally about half as much. Two years after your divorce, you are eligible to receive such benefits even if you ex-spouse is not yet receiving benefits despite eligibility.

C.E. Borman & Associates works with couples involved in gray divorce and has the experience necessary to deal with retirement accounts, Social Security benefits and other financial factors unique to your divorce.

 

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