3 November

Social Security and the 10-Year Marriage Rule

Social Security and the 10-Year Marriage Rule

divorceSocial Security retirement benefits may not be the first thing on your clients’ minds when they are getting divorced, especially if they are younger. The right to Social Security benefits is a federal entitlement not affected by state law, and rarely discussed much during divorce. But one critical timing mistake could cost your client a bundle down the road.

Social Security benefits after divorce
When married couples retire, a lower-earning spouse can elect to claim Social Security retirement benefits based on the record of the higher-earning spouse. The lower-earning spouse is usually, but not always, the wife.

Your client’s right to claim Social Security retirement benefits based on his or her spouse’s record continues after divorce — but only certain conditions are met. Most of these conditions are out of the lawyer’s control: the ex-spouse claiming the benefits has to be at least 62 years old and can’t be married at the time and the divorce has to have been final for two years, among other requirements. Whether these requirements will be met cannot always be known. The one requirement that is somewhat in your control is that the parties must have been legally married for 10 years for this benefit to even be a possibility.

Any time you are advising a client with a marriage that is approaching the 10-year mark, you should discuss the possibility of delaying entry of the decree of dissolution until after the parties’ tenth anniversary. Preserving this right costs the higher-earning spouse nothing and could benefit the lower wage earner substantially in the future.

Learn more about marriage and Social Security
The Social Security Administration’s website contains a wealth of information and has recently been revamped to be more user-friendly. (Fun fact: there is a lifetime limit of 10 replacement Social Security cards one person can request.) The publications “What Every Woman Should Know” and “What Same-Sex Couples N

11 March

How to Handle a Parenting Evaluation

How to Handle a Parenting Evaluation

Appointing and Retaining the evaluator
Evaluators are usually appointed by the court at an initial hearing. Once contacted, most evaluators will send a questionnaire, request a a fee deposit, and require a contract. PROMPTLY RESPOND. The evaluator may negatively view an inability to handle these simple tasks. Work with your attorney, complete the forms, and pay the deposit. Your attorney will probably want to send the documents filed in the case, and may also want to send a letter letting the evaluator know your position. DO NOT act without coordinating with your attorney.
Keep it Simple
When completing the forms, avoid angry or accusatory answers-just state the facts. Keep your answers short. You should make each of your major points only once and reserve the minor points and the long explanations until later.

26 January

Juvenile Detention

22 January

Wechsler Becker, LLP

wb books and card
12 November

WBLLP Welcomes Rachel Culver to the team

Wechsler Becker, LLP welcomes Rachel Culver to the team.

Rachel Culver is the newest member to join the Wechsler Becker team, serving as associate to Michael Louden, Ruth Edlund and Alan Funk. Despite being newly admitted to practice, Rachel has worked with family law clients in a variety of capacities since 2010, and brings a diverse set of legal experiences to the firm. Prior to joining Wechsler Becker, Rachel worked for the King County Department of Public Defense, SCRAP Division, representing clients in dependency cases and clerked for the Honorable Judge Sean O’Donnell in King County Superior Court. During law school she represented clients with the Incarcerated Parents Clinic at Seattle University, which was named one of the Most Innovative Clinics by the National Jurist.

Rachel works hard to advocate practical and workable legal solutions in every case, while simultaneously giving the utmost attention and respect to the feelings and emotions that drive her clients. She views every case as a privilege and opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life and in the lives of the families in her community.

Outside of the legal realm, Rachel plays competitive indoor soccer, enjoys spending time with friends and is involved with retired greyhound adoption.

Rachel Culver