Divorce is hard. The process is difficult for many reasons. One of the most talked about is division of assets – separating everything you owned as a couple. The way those assets are split up could have a great effect on retirement plans.
Social Security benefits are not divided when a couple divorces. But, an ex-spouse can claim spousal benefits through the Social Security Administration.
Most couples are not comprised of two equal wage earners. One spouse may have opted out or reduced their time in the workforce during their marriage. This would result in that spouse having lower earnings, meaning lower benefits through Social Security.
If you are helping to establish a retirement plan for a client who is divorced, be aware that they may be eligible for a spousal benefit. Claiming a spousal benefit could offer greater supplementary income for a divorced client during retirement. Of course, Social Security cannot be the sole foundation for any financial plan for retirement.