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Divorce and Social Security retirement benefits

Many Georgia entertainment fans may have heard that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are planning on ending their marriage. According to many media outlets, the power couple have in excess of $150 million in assets. Sources suggest that the couple seems on track to divorce before their 10th wedding anniversary, which means that they will be forfeiting some benefits they could have claimed in the future. From a retirement standpoint, waiting until after their 10th wedding anniversary might make sense to couples who, unlike the two stars, may have to rely on Social Security benefits in the future .

Couples often forget about matters like future retirement benefits when they are in the middle of making emotional decisions. Current Social Security rules allows spouses who have been married for at least 10 years to obtain certain benefits that others whose marriages ended before that anniversary are not entitled to.

In some cases, a person who was married for at least 10 years and who has not remarried can elect to use the former spouse's Social Security record for purposes of calculating benefits. This will not affect the right of the former spouse to receive his or her full benefits, and it may be valuable to a person whose earning history was far less impressive than that of a higher-paid former spouse.

Divorce legal issues can be complicated enough without taking into account future Social Security retirement benefits, but those amounts can often have an impact on property division and spousal support. An attorney representing one of the parties to a divorce might be of assistance in negotiating a comprehensive settlement agreement that takes these and other matters into account.

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