When a Utah couple makes the decision to file for divorce, they have taken the first step to becoming individuals instead of part of a couple for the first time in a while. There are so many facets to consider. Matters of not only children but separate property holdings like the house, retirement benefits and general assets must be factored in.

One point that might be overlooked by most couples may be social security benefits. For example, if one part of the couple was the so-called “breadwinner,” then the other may receive up to 50 percent of what the ex-spouse is entitled. However, to be eligible, the couple must have been married for at least ten years before getting divorced.

There are certain stipulations in order to start the process — one of which is that one spouse must have reached full retirement age. Another is that he or she needs to be either receiving or be eligible for benefits and have worked for ten years with FICA or social security tax withholding. What does this all mean in the long run? It might mean more money for the spouse who brought in less money to the marital home each month. To get the most of this benefit, waiting to claim benefits until the age of 70 can yield 32 percent more each month.

This is not meant as a bargaining chip when filing for divorce and talking about separate property. This is something to consider when reaching retirement age in Utah. In fact, the ex-spouse may never know that his or her former partner is receiving a portion of those benefits.

Source: Fox Business, Tapping Your Ex for Social Security Benefits…and Making the Most of It, Gail Buckner, Jan. 6, 2014

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