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The impact of divorce on Social Security payments

Pennsylvania residents who are going through a divorce or who have already completed this process know firsthand the impact it can have on their finances. When divorce happens later in life, it can make it more challenging for the divorcing individuals to stabilize themselves as they move on into retirement.

Many divorced individuals are pleased to learn that, according to the Social Security Administration, access to benefits does not disappear just because there was a divorce. The potential exists for a divorced individual to collect Social Security benefits from their ex-spouse, especially if their ex-spouse earned more money than they did. For some retiring divorcees, this bit of information has meant the difference between financial security and instability during retirement.

However, as with many things government related, there are specific rules a divorced individual must adhere to if they want to qualify for their spouse's Social Security benefits. The marriage has to last at least 10 years, and in most cases, the collecting spouse will have to remain single after the divorce. Even if the other spouse remarries, the collecting spouse may still be entitled to benefits. The collecting partner will have to be 62 years of age or over, and their ex-spouse must qualify to get his or her own retirement benefits.

These are just a few of the stipulations the government lays out for a divorced individual looking to collect the Social Security benefits of their ex-spouse. A family law attorney can help during a high-asset divorce by assisting their client in understanding the documents and procedures needed to collect Social Security benefits from their ex-spouse. They can assist in drawing up these documents, as well as represent their client in divorce proceedings. They are also available to advise the client on shared accounts, property division and any other practical issues that may arise during the divorce proceedings.

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