Tuesday, August 2, 2016

WORK AND JOBS: Divorce and Social Security Spousal Benefits

You may qualify for Social Security benefits from a previous marriage even after you are divorced.

1)     If you have been married 10 years and are divorced (and not remarried) you qualify for spousal benefits.
2)     The Social Security law is gender neutral so the law applies to men and women.
3)     The amount you receive has no effect on the amount your former spouse receives.  (It also takes no benefits from a new spouse of your former spouse.)
4)     You must be age 62 or older.
5)     If you qualify for Social Security benefits based on your own work record it may be lower than the benefit you can receive through your former spouse.  You may choose whichever benefit is higher but not both.
6)     You may begin receiving benefits even if your spouse has not elected to receive his or hers.
7)     The amount you receive depends on how much your former spouse qualifies for.  Your amount is 50% of your former spouse’s benefit.
8)     If your former spouse died you would have to meet the following conditions to collect:
a.      You are 60 or older, or 50 if you are disabled.
b.     Your marriage was 10 years
c.      Your own retirement benefit is lower than what you would receive through your former spouse’s recwayord.

There are more rules regarding children’s rights to Social Security and people with multiple marriages.  To learn more or to see more detail, go online to Social Security:  http://www.ssa.gov or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

You will need documents including your birth certificate, marriage license and death certificate, where applicable.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Michigan Same Sex Marriage Law Update

The Michigan Law Revision Committee has prepared a Special Draft Report regarding changes needed to Michigan law since the United States Supreme Court decision in June 2015 in Obergefell v Hodges.  The Court ruled that under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, same sex couples have a constitutionally protected right to marry.  Obergefell v Hodges, 135 S Ct 2584 (2015).  The Michigan Law Revision Committee has the statutory duty to “examine the common law and statutes of this State and current judicial decisions for purposes of discovering defects and anachronisms in the law and recommending needed reforms.” MCL 4.1403 (1) (a).

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Private Investigators: How They Can Help

A number of clients call to discuss hiring a private investigator.  Their reason may be to check on someone they met on an online dating site or to protect an elderly parent from possible predators.  Some want to confirm that someone is really divorced.

Using a private investigator usually gets more information than can be obtained by non-professionals as they have access to special data bases not open to the general public.  Be careful when hiring a private investigator.  Make sure the one chosen is licensed and in good standing.  If the reason you are hiring an investigator is for divorce purposes, you may want an attorney to assist you.  There are dangers in authorizing anyone to access another=s computer or take photographs without consent or eavesdrop on a phone conversation (see my earlier article AHey, Nice Guy Getting Divorced: You  Could bea Cyber Criminal@ January 7, 2013).

To find a private investigator there are various lists for reputable investigators.  The cost of looking can be as low as $65.  For more complicated work, such as debugging a house may cost hundreds of dollars.