Social Security benefits play a crucial role in retirement planning for many Louisiana residents. However, those who are ready to divorce might have some understandable concerns about accessing those benefits in the future. What few people understand is that it is possible to receive these important retirement benefits based on a spouse’s work history even if they have divorced.

Financial security during retirement is an enormous concern for most people, but especially for those who are close to retirement and ready to divorce. For some, divorce can feel like a gamble. However, if that individual was married for at least 10 years and his or her ex qualifies for Social Security, then he or she can count on those benefits as well.

Drawing Social Security on an ex-spouse’s work history is an important part of planning for post-divorce finances. However, other than having been married for a period of at least 10 years, there are a few other qualifications. The person drawing those spousal benefits must be at least 62 years of age, and the benefits that he or she qualifies for must be less than what they would receive from an ex’s work history. The person drawing spousal benefits cannot remarry and continue receiving benefits.

Information from the Social Security Administration indicates that 48 percent of married couples in retirement receive at least half of their income from Social Security benefits. For unmarried individuals, this figure shoots up to 69 percent. This means there is not much wiggle room to make mistakes when it comes to planning for finances after divorce. Most people in Louisiana can avoid any significant mistakes by paying careful attention to detail, remaining open to negotiations and compromise, and by seeking guidance from an experienced counsel when necessary.