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Some may file for ex-spouse's Social Security benefits

Divorcing husbands and wives in Michigan have many issues to attend to. Property division, business division, spousal support and potentially child support are just some of the common areas about which settlements must be reached. Some topics involve assets and liabilities that are concrete today, like a house or car. Others, however, can involve assets more likely to affect a person’s future. Retirement accounts, pension fund and social security benefits are some such examples.

Recently, an article was published in the media that outlined some of the requirements involved in claiming the Social Security benefits of a former spouse. This is not an automatic benefit for all divorced persons and the criteria are very specific. One of the main requirements is a marriage lasting at least 10 years. Others pertain to the age and earnings of spouses and whether or not remarriages have occurred. Additionally, a couple must have been divorced for at least two years.

A W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research economist urges some people to wait before pursuing a divorce in order to meet the initial 10-year marriage requirement. Doing so can keep the door open for one spouse to file a claim for the other spouse’s benefit down the road. Many people may not even know such an option exists.

When identifying marital property and determining an appropriate asset division, it could be important to ask your attorney about Social Security benefits as well. Remembering to protect your future income as well as your current can be helpful.

Source: Market Watch, “How divorce, remarriage impact Social Security,” Robert Powell, February 18, 2014

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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