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Retirement can be affected by divorce

More and more often, couples who have been together most of their lives are seeking separation alternatives. Colloquially called "grey divorce," this phenomenon is making waves both here in Connecticut and elsewhere in the country, as rising divorce rates among senior citizens becomes more prominent. Before seniors seek a divorce, it is important for both parties to understand what the ramifications may be on their retirement plans.

In order for one party to take advantage of his or her former partners' Social Security, the divorce must have lasted at least 10 years, both former spouses must be over the age of 62 and the spouse collecting the other's Social Security must remain unmarried. It is also not possible for one spouse to begin collecting the other's Social Security if that individual has not already begun collecting. It is also generally understood that a divorce must be finalized for two years before benefit payments can begin.

However, some say there is a potential loophole in this rule. If both spouses are over the age of 62 and the divorce has been finalized for over two years, as soon as the spouse principally covered by the Social Security benefits begins collecting, the other spouse should be able to as well. There are several such unique circumstances that can pop up in divorce law, especially where it concerns grey divorce.

Connecticut seniors who are in the process of seeking a divorce may find it beneficial to understand how this state's divorce laws pertain specifically to grey divorce. This may influence an individual's ability to collect Social Security. Since the point of divorce is moving forward in a positive direction, the more well-prepared an individual is for the coming proceedings, the more likely the outcome will be favorable.

Source:, Divorce can derail retirement plans, Talbot Boggs, Feb. 25, 2014

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