How Do You Divide Social Security Benefits in Divorce?


Quick Answer

The Ohio State Bar Association states that Social Security benefits are considered marital assets, which means that they have to be equally divided as part of an equitable division of property. Social Security benefits are a type of deferred wages that are accumulated during a marriage and held for future distribution.

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Full Answer

Private Social Security plans that an employer offers and those collected through public and individual plans provided by federal, governmental and state entities also have to be considered as retirement plans, notes the Ohio State Bar Association. Examples of specific plans include the Federal Employees Retirement System, Civil Service Retirement System, State Teachers Retirement System, 401(k) plans and defined benefits plans.

The Ohio State Bar Association notes that the value of private and individual plans is determined through statements of the funds invested. The value of any plans that offer a monthly benefit at retirement must be determined by the current dollar value of the future benefit. In order to determine the most current dollar value of a retirement plan, an individual likely needs the legal testimony and analysis of an expert.

The division of Social Security benefits occurs by individually separating each plan, notes the Ohio State Bar Association. Each spouse may be entitled to half of the marital portion of a plan if there is more than one type of plan.

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