Georgia Uncontested Divorce and Eligibility for Social Security Benefits - AttorneysIf you are in the process of obtaining a Georgia uncontested divorce, then you may be wondering if you will be eligible to receive Social Security benefits. Even though women today are frequently the sole breadwinners for the family, they often earn less income than men. Due to the economic disparities between husband and wife, husbands often receive more in social security benefits than wives do. But how does this play out in an event of an uncontested divorce? Does Social Security Benefits count as a marital asset?  Additionally, when you are in the process of going through a divorce, you might be very much wondering if you will qualify for any Social Security benefits.

Overview of Social Security

“Social Security” commonly refers to the federal Old Age and Survivors Insurance benefits (OASI), which no longer just covers the “worker spouse.” OASI has expanded to include additional spouse benefits and allows the spouses to keep the derived benefits, even at the event of a divorce or after worker spouse’s death. Almost every family can qualify for Social Security benefits, and these benefits touch the lives of nearly all the Americans. Social Security also helps older individuals, disabled workers, and family of a deceased spouse or parent. The statistics hold that today about 167 million people are employed and paying Social Security taxes, and 59 million people out of these 167 million people receive the monthly Social Security benefits. However, Social Security is not the sole source of income for retired individuals. Social Security replaces about 40% of an average wage earner’s income after retirement, and according to most financial advisers retirees’ need 70 percent or more of pre-retirement earnings to live comfortably. To have a comfortable retirement, Americans need more than Social Security. They also need private pensions, savings, and investments.

Are Social Security benefits considered a marital asset in Georgia?

According to Federal law, Social Security benefits cannot be divided in a divorce proceeding. Therefore, Social Security benefits cannot be considered a marital asset that can be divided in a Georgia uncontested divorce.  What this means is that if the parties submit a Divorce Settlement Agreement that has as one of its provisions the division of Social Security benefits to a Georgia court, the provision will either be rejected by the court or could later be found to be unenforceable. However, federal law nor Georgia law prohibits the division of pension benefits that are received in lieu of Social Security. And Georgia courts can consider Social Security when dividing other assets.  The best way to handle this limitation is when negotiating an uncontested divorce in Georgia, is to substitute another asset or alimony in lieu of dividing the Social Security benefits.

The rules of Social Security benefits.

The rules about Social Security benefits are very much relevant to the post-divorce income. If you have been married for at least 10 years or more and are 62 years or older, you will be eligible to collect the retirement benefits on your former spouse’s benefits, even after divorce is granted. At an age of 62, you will be able to receive benefits on either your own Social Security record or your former spouse’s record, then switch to the other benefits when you reach the full retirement age. This is good news for those who have been out of the workforce during the event of marriage. It is also important to remember that you can likely be found eligible to draw the benefits for up to 50% of your former spouse’s benefits. If you are divorced for minimum of two (2) years, you will be entitled to the Social Security Benefits through your former spouse even if the former spouse is eligible, but not receiving the benefits. If your former spouse dies during your divorce proceeding, you will likely be eligible to receive the survivor benefits of 100% of your former spouse’s Social Security benefit. To qualify for these benefits, your marriage should at least be valid for 10 yeas, and you should be at least 60 years old. However, it is important to remember that you may not be entitled to retirement benefits equal to or greater than your former spouse’s benefits.

How will remarriage affect my Social Security benefits?

Remarriage after an uncontested divorce can affect your eligibility to receive the Social Security benefits. If you decide to remarry, you will not receive any benefits if you remarry before age 60. If you are disabled and you choose to remarry before the age of 50, you will not be eligible to receive Social Security benefits. Generally speaking, your benefits will end after you remarry. It is important to be prudent and consider these significant financial risks before remarrying.  This is a major reason that many older Americans do not remarry, but actually live together.

In regards to the divorced spouse’s benefits, such benefits will terminate once you marry someone else, in this case, someone other than the former spouse on whose work records the benefits are being collected at. However, exceptions do always exist. In this case, if the new spouse is eligible to receive Social Security benefits as a wife, husband, widow, widower, father, mother, parent, or disabled child, then you will be eligible to receive the divorced spouses’ benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record.

Strategies for married couples in Georgia

Generally, married couples are quick to think on their feet to think about the strategies of maximizing the Social Security benefits. Number of calculators online are available to you to help you with this. The calculators can help you figure out the value of what Social Security generally calls as “restricted applications.” One of the best websites is SocialSecuritySolutions.com, which generally costs $49 for a year. For example, when you reach the full retirement age, can choose how to restrict your Social Security application to only the total benefits available to you, allowing other benefits to grow later on.

If you believe you may be eligible for Social Security benefits, but are unsure about it, then give us a call today. Our experienced divorce and family law attorneys here at Coleman Legal Group, LLC can help you determine whether you qualify for Social Security benefits or not. Our attorneys are experienced in helping clients like you who are facing domestic issues and are concerned about eligibility. We are here to help you get through this in every step of the way. Call us today at 470-947-2471 to discuss your case. Contact >>