The Impact of Social Security on Divorced Retirement Income

Social Security spousal benefits can quickly get complicated when remarriages and other circumstances are taken into account. Let’s explore some examples.

A divorcing couple sit on either side of a conference table with a lawyer between them looking at paperwork.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series about how divorce and other circumstances can affect Social Security benefits and retirement income. Part two explores the differences in retirement income for divorced spouses: Is a 35% Difference in Retirement Income Fair and Equitable?

The complexities of Social Security retirement benefits make it a difficult topic for divorce settlement negotiations. It is an exceedingly important source of income for retirees, especially divorced and even affluent retirees. Therefore, Social Security’s place in a person’s retirement income plan is a critical item for mediators, divorce financial planners, lawyers and their clients to understand to achieve the elusive goal of a fair and equitable settlement.

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Chris Chen, CFP®
Founder, Insight Financial Strategists LLC

Chris Chen CFP® CDFA is the founder of Insight Financial Strategists LLC, a fee-only investment advisory firm in Newton, Mass. He specializes in retirement planning and divorce financial planning for professionals and business owners. Chris is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). He is on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation.