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How a divorce could affect an older couple’s finances

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2021 | Family Law

According to a survey by the AARP, a divorce between couples over age 50 offered 76% of the respondents a fresh start. As noted by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, individuals 65 or older divorced three times as much over the last 25 years.

Some individuals decide to retire after a divorce instead of returning to the workforce. Under Florida’s laws, however, assets purchased in marriage divide fairly between divorcing couples. Negotiating a divorce may include reflecting on each individual’s retirement needs.

How retirement plans divide with divorce

Retirement plans such as a 401(k) that started during a marriage generally divide fairly in a Florida divorce. Even if one spouse did not work or contribute to the plan, the court requires that he or she receive a fair share of it.

As noted by U.S. News, divorcing couples may withdraw from a retirement account without penalties. If an individual has not yet reached 59 and 1/2 years of age, rolling the proceeds into an IRA could prevent a tax debt.

Some options when spouses become eligible for Social Security

Married couples need to wait for a working spouse to retire at the age of 62 before both spouses could become eligible for Social Security. Divorced individuals, however, may file for benefits as soon as they reach retirement age.

If a nonworking spouse stayed married to a working spouse for at least 10 years, he or she may apply for spousal benefits at age 62. According to the Social Security Administration’s website, an unmarried ex-spouse may receive benefits based on the working spouse’s earnings.

Older couples considering divorce may use their work experience and finances to plan for retirement. With a divorce settlement, older individuals may have an option to move on from a marriage that no longer supports their retirement goals.

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