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Divorce has impact on retirement planning

The process of getting divorced in Texas can be difficult for both emotional and financial reasons. The financial side of divorce may especially be intimidating for those who are about to enter their retirement years. However, some tips may help them to protect their best interests when dealing with divorce-related financial matters that impact their golden years.

First, reviewing options for claiming Social Security is important when navigating a late-in-life divorce. For divorced spouses, the benefits received from Social Security are not considered assets that can be divided in divorce court. Instead, for those who have been married for at least 10 years and who are at least 62 years old, they can collect benefits based on the records of the former spouse, even after getting divorced.

Those who remarry before turning 60 typically cannot enjoy widow's benefits. However, divorcees who remarry after 60 -- or after 50 for those with disabilities -- can still obtain benefits based on the former spouse's employment history. Meanwhile, those who are at least 62 years old may draw benefits on the work of a new spouse if these benefits would be greater.

During a divorce proceeding, the splitting of retirement plan money also has a long-term effect on how well divorced individuals may live during their golden years. If possible, two spouses may negotiate this or reach an agreement through divorce mediation rather than going to trial. This helps to eliminate the cost and stress associated with traditional divorce litigation. However, if the spouses cannot find common ground, they have no choice but to depend on a judge in Texas to ultimately decide how their assets will be distributed.

Source: investopedia.com, "7 Steps to Being Prepared to Be Single After Retirement", Katie Moore, Dec. 1, 2017

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