Divorce in Illinois: Impact on social security and retirement

Divorce is more than just the end of a personal relationship; it is also the end of a financial partnership. As such, those going through a split need to carefully consider the best way to move forward with the property division portion of the divorce proceeding.

One portion of the property division determination that may be overlooked is the split of retirement assets. Individuals can easily get caught up in the here and now, focusing on who gets the family home and how savings accounts are split. It is wise to also look into the future and attempt to set up a split that is designed to better ensure long-term financial success. Retirement assets can play a key role in reaching this goal.

More information on social security benefits availability after divorce

Part of planning for long-term financial success is having a basic idea of what funds will be available. Those who qualify for social security benefits should be aware of the impact divorce will have on these benefits. Those who were in a marriage for ten years or longer can still qualify to receive benefits based on their ex's record. This benefit is available, according to the Social Security Administration, even if the ex-spouse has remarried. Additional qualifying factors are considered and include the marital status and age of the applicant. Generally, the applicant must be unmarried and age 62 or over to qualify.

It is important to note that although an applicant can qualify to receive benefits based on an ex's record at the age of 62, it may be wise to wait a few years. The full retirement age is currently 66. A reduction is applied to the payment if the applicant begins receiving disbursements at 62. Those who wait until reaching the full retirement age receive 50 percent of the ex-spouse's benefit amount, while those beginning payment at age 62 may only be eligible for 32 to 37 percent of the ex's benefit amount.

Additional considerations for retirement assets during divorce in Illinois

Social security benefits are just one retirement asset that may be impacted during divorce. The Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a group of legal professionals in the state, notes that a court approved divorce plan may not be enough to split certain retirement assets. In addition, a QDRO may be needed. A QDRO, or Qualified Domestic Relations Order, provides directions on how certain retirement assets should be split, such as a 401k.

These are just a few of many issues that can arise during the property division portion of a divorce proceeding. As a result, those who are going through a divorce should contact an experienced Illinois property division attorney. This legal professional will be able to review your situation and help guide you through the process, better increasing your odds of receiving a successful property division determination.