Many individuals dream of moving to Florida or remaining here during their retirement years. Sadly, many may find their retirement plans altered due to a high-asset divorce after the age of 50. Special attention must be paid to retirement assets, Social Security benefits and insurance policies during a so-called gray divorce in order to protect future living expenses.
A gray divorce involves spouses over the age of 50 and often occurs after a couple has accumulated wealth and significant retirement funds. Many individuals in this age group have pension plans that may have unique rules and require specific court orders to acquire shares. An individual’s attorney must file for a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, which must then be submitted to the retirement account administrator. If a former spouse is to be designated as the surviving beneficiary to a former spouse’s pension plan, it must be documented in the final divorce decree.
Some divorcees may be relieved to learn that they may be able to claim Social Security benefits based upon the work record of an ex-spouse. Specific requirements must be met, but if they are, spouses are eligible to receive benefits equal to 50 percent of their former spouse’s benefits. This option does not change the former spouse’s right to receive his or her full Social Security benefits. Eligibility requirements include age, length of the marriage and current marital status. Spouses who remarry are not eligible to receive Social Security based on a former spouse’s work record.
Most individuals do not have much time following a gray divorce to earn an income in order to replenish retirement funds. Securing the right attorney to handle a high-asset divorce is important. An experienced Florida family law attorney can help achieve a comprehensive and fair settlement regarding all divorce-related issues.