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Facing divorce after retirement: sources of support

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2021 | Divorce

Going from two incomes to one after a divorce can be concerning enough, even when the single income is not “fixed.” Being past retirement age and living on Social Security benefits may leave someone with next to nothing to live on. There are two likely ways to supplement that Social Security retirement income, though.

A senior leaving a long-term marriage may be eligible for alimony as well as additional SSA retirement benefits from the former spouse.


Those who are coming out of a marriage that lasted 17 years or more may be eligible for permanent alimony, according to the Florida Statutes. This type of support is to provide for former spouses who lack the ability to meet their own needs. Other conditions that the judge considers include:

  • Marital standard of living
  • Age
  • Mental and physical health of each spouse
  • Financial resources and earning capacity of each spouse
  • Contributions to the marriage (financial and nonfinancial)
  • Tax consequences of alimony on both spouses

A judge may also find that there are factors unique to the circumstances that are relevant to how much a former spouse should receive, so these are worth mentioning in the request for support.

Social Security retirement income

If one spouse has spent most of the marriage taking care of nonfinancial needs at home such as managing the household and raising children, he or she is not likely to have as much Social Security retirement income as the spouse who spent those years supporting the family. According to the SSA, even after divorce, a person may draw benefits based on a former spouse’s work record if that is more than his or her own benefits. This does not come out of the former spouse’s own check; it is simply a benefit that the SSA provides to the lower-earning spouses after divorce.

Additional means of support may be available, as well, depending on the particulars of the case.


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