Spousal support alone cannot help build a retirement fund

A significant number of divorces in Florida involve stay-at-home parents who typically lose their financial independence and have minimal opportunity to build retirement funds. Even if the other spouse is ordered to pay spousal support, the amount is generally based on living expenses. Alimony is often limited to a specific period to allow that person to prepare for re-entry into the job market.

Many divorcing spouses are unaware of the Social Security benefit to which they will be entitled. The government recognizes parents who give up paying jobs to take round-the-clock care of their families, despite financial losses. A divorced spouse is entitled to 50 percent of the ex-spouse's retirement fund at the age of 65 to 67 years. Full retirement age depends on the year of birth, but a reduced amount may be drawn at the earlier age of 62.

However, such a claim will not be valid if the couple was married for less than 10 years, and a person will only be eligible two years after they were divorced. A divorced person will not qualify if he or she remarried -- and stayed married. Furthermore, if the divorced spouse is entitled to his or her own Social Security retirement benefits, and it is higher in value than half the amount of the ex-spouse's, his or her own benefits must be taken.

Any person who is in a similar situation may profit from gaining knowledge about this Social Security benefit that might be a welcome windfall when they reach retirement age. An appropriate step might be to consult with an experienced divorce attorney who could explain the requirements and legal rights related to Social Security retirement. A Florida lawyer can also provide support and guidance with other matters such as spousal support, property division and more.

Source: investopedia.com, "Don't Forget Your Ex-Spouse's Social Security Benefits", Alison Davies, Accessed on March 2, 2018

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