According to data provided by Dr. Phil, in 2003, 60 percent of marriages
for couples between the ages of 20 and 25 ended in divorce. And although
it’s ten years later, statistics haven’t changed much and
researchers believe that many divorces happen during this time in a person’s life.
But what about people who decide to divorce later in life? Called a "grey
divorce," dissolution of marriage tends to happen after age 50 and comes
with it an entirely different set of circumstances. Unlike divorce at
a younger age, grey divorces often entail more assets and trickier situations
such as how to divide your spouse’s retirement fund. But along with
the division of these assets also come the ones provided by the Social
Security Administration and not handling this sooner can create huge problems later.
Let’s look at an example scenario to see what we mean:
Mary and her husband recently divorced and both are nearing retirement
age. She has started looking into collecting Social Security benefits
and has noticed that she can collect on her ex-husband’s benefits.
But she needs to know how much he earned, information her ex-husband will
not provide to her nor will SSA. Without this information she does not
know how much money she should put away for retirement or when the optimal
time is to retire for herself.
Although this situation is hypothetical in nature, the problems that can
result from it are very real. Readers of our blog should know that SSA
has particular requirements that must be met in order to collect benefits.
One such stipulation is that a couple must have been married for at least
10 years and have been divorced for two or more years in order to collect
divorcee spousal benefits. Also, the ex must be at least 62 years of age
or older in order to begin collecting. Knowing this and if your spouse
has filed are incredibly important pieces of information that can really
help a person plan for their future, especially after a divorce.
Source: PBS News Hour, "How Social Security Keeps Divorcées and Widows
in the Dark About Their Benefits," Larry Kotlikoff, Nov. 4, 2013