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Gray or Silver Divorce: The Impact of Divorce on Social Security Benefits and Retirement Accounts

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneys, social security benefitsLate-in-life divorces, often referred to as “gray” or “silver” divorces, are becoming more common in the United States. While these divorces are more common and acceptable, many senior Americans do not realize the impact that divorcing or remarrying may have on their retirement and Social Security benefits. It is an important issue since Social Security is the primary source of income for many senior Americans. Understanding the impact divorce may have on your retirement future can help you navigate your divorce and avoid making costly errors.

Divorce May Impact Your Social Security Benefits

The impact of your divorce on Social Security depends on how long you were married to your spouse and whether you decide to remarry.

  • Married 10 Years and Spouse Paid Social Security: If you were married at least 10 years and your spouse paid into the Social Security system, then you are eligible for benefits. This is true even if you have divorced and you did not pay into the system. Similar to regular Social Security benefits, the amount of the benefit will be reduced if you retire early and decide to access the benefits.
  • Married at Least 10 Years and Both Spouses Paid Social Security: If you and your spouse have paid into Social Security, then each spouse is eligible for benefits based on his or her own work history. However, you may opt for payments under your spouse's work history even if you have divorced.

Re-marriage Impacts Your Social Security Benefits

If you or your spouse decides to remarry before turning 60, then you will lose your eligibility to claim spousal benefits and eligibility for benefits will be calculated under your new spouse’s work history. If you remarry after 60, then you maintain your eligibility for former spouse’s benefits. Interestingly, you may be eligible for benefits if you were married several times for at least 10 years. However, you may not add up the benefits from each marriage, but you may select the benefit which is best for you.

Dividing Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts are generally considered property. If a both spouses contributed to the retirement fund during the marriage, then the retirement account will be considered marital property. This means the account will be diving equitably under Illinois property division rules.

Let an Attorney Help

There are several factors that you must consider when facing a divorce later in life. In addition to negotiating spousal support and dividing personal property, senior Americans will want to consider how their divorce will impact their retirement accounts and Social Security benefits. If you are a senior American dealing with a divorce, then you should contact the DuPage County divorce attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC. We can discuss the impact your divorce could have in your retirement and advise you on the best strategy for your divorce. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.


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