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Retirement funding is key to property division negotiation

When considering issues of property division during divorce, it is imperative to include retirement funding. It is easy to become bogged down by fighting over the family home or issues associated with the division of tangible property. However, in many cases the Massachusetts spouse who emerges with the retirement savings is far better prepared for future financial success than the party who keeps the house. Property division can be far more complicated than making a simple list of real estate holdings and shared belongings.

Many former spouses who fail to give this topic proper attention during the divorce process find themselves struggling to fund their retirement when the time comes. For some, the ability to claim against the Social Security record of a former spouse becomes a central issue. While it may be possible to receive Social Security benefits based on the earning record of a former spouse, there are certain requirements that must be met.

Chief among these is the requirement that the claiming spouse remains unmarried. The only exception to this lies in cases in which the former spouse is deceased and the surviving spouse did not remarry until after the age of 60. If the surviving spouse is disabled, he or she can claim survivor's benefits if they remarry after the age of 50.

When considering issues related to property division, it is important to understand that the decision made during divorce negotiations should focus on long-range plans. Retirement funding should play a role in that process, no matter how old the parties are at the time of a Massachusetts divorce. For spouses who are unsure how to navigate the property division portion of a divorce, it may be advisable to consult with both legal counsel and a financial advisor.

Source: Fox Business, "Divorce Doesn't have to Separate You from Benefits," Dr. Don Taylor, March 13, 2013

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