No one wants to just get by during retirement, but establishing a secure financial footing for the future is not always easy. Divorce in particular can complicate plans for one’s later years. Making sound, informed decisions regarding the division of marital property is one way to protect that future, but it is not the only approach.
Many people in Illinois use Social Security benefits for at least some of their retirement income. These benefits are essential even to those who have spent decades carefully setting aside enough money to support themselves even without Social Security, which is true even for those who are divorced. Should someone not have any Social Security benefits of his or her own, then claiming benefits based on an ex-spouse’s work history is possible.
It is not uncommon for one spouse to leave the workforce during marriage, especially if he or she is doing so to raise children or act as a caretaker for a loved one. This means there is no work history to establish eligibility for Social Security benefits of one’s own. However, if a marriage lasted for a period of at least 10 years, then that individual can claim based upon the work record of an ex spouse. He or she must not be married currently and cannot claim those benefits until he or she is 62, although there are some exceptions to the age limit.
There is no such thing as being too prepared for divorce. Even if one secured a favorable division of the marital property and continued support through alimony, claiming Social Security benefits adds another layer of financial protection during retirement. To avoid making divorce decisions that might jeopardize those benefits, it might be best to speak with an attorney who is experienced in Illinois family law.