The Law Offices of James A. Cuddy, LLC

Consider Social Security during divorce negotiations

Many Connecticut residents are aware of the divorce rumors surrounding the marriage of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. While there has been no formal announcement that the high-profile pair has split, the speculation about the end of their marriage leads to an interesting topic of discussion. The pair are nearing their 10-year anniversary, and if they divorce before that date has passed, they may be making a financial mistake that is of interest to many who earn far less than the celebrity couple.

Many spouses are unaware that they have the ability to make a Social Security claim against the work record of a former spouse. In order to do so, the claiming spouse must be at least 62 years old at the time the claim is made and must also be unmarried. The duration of the marriage must have been at least 10 years.

A divorced spouse can file a Social Security claim using their former spouse's earning record, which allows the claiming spouse to delay claiming against his or her own benefits until a later date. While the amount of the spousal claim is only equal to 50 percent of what that party is able to claim, that amount could go a long way toward allowing one's own claim to grow. For each year that an individual is able to defer claiming Social Security, the value of the benefit grows by nearly eight percent.

For Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Social Security benefits are unlikely to be a cause of concern, whether or not the parties seek a divorce. For most Connecticut residents, the matter is of far greater importance. When structuring one's divorce negotiation strategy, the ability to file a claim based on the work record of a former spouse should be taken into consideration.

Source: marketwatch.com, "Why Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck shouldn???t rush into divorce", Joe Lucey, June 2, 2015

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