Does Getting Divorced Affect Your Social Security Benefits?

August 8, 2018 | Category: Family Law, Spousal Maintenance

After a certain age, the primary concerns of divorce change. Child custody issues give way to retirement squabbles. Suddenly, your future as a retiree looks a lot less secure. The good news? You may still retain your ex's Social Security benefits. Read on to learn more about the role divorce plays in Social Security — and how you can maximize benefits.

Eligibility And the Length of Your Marriage

A chief factor determining your eligibility for ex-spousal Social Security benefits: the length of your marriage. If you divorce before your tenth wedding anniversary, you won't be eligible. For this reason, some couples separate but wait to divorce until that important ten-year mark arrives.

The Role of Remarriage

If your ex-spouse remarries, you're in luck; you can continue to collect on his or her Social Security benefits as long as you remain single. If you remarry, however, you can kiss those ex-spousal benefits goodbye.

How Much Can I Receive?

As with your own Social Security, ex-spousal benefits largely depend on employment record, including income and the number of years worked. If your expected benefit is higher than your spouse's, you can only collect on your own. Otherwise, you can collect up to half of your spouse's retirement figure, as long as you've already reached retirement age.

What If My Ex Hasn't Retired Yet?

Divorce-related benefits don't hinge on your ex-spouse's retirement. You can receive benefits even as your ex continues to work. However, if your ex has yet to retire, you must be divorced for a full two years before you can collect benefits.

As a former spouse, it's in your best interest to seek as much information as possible about your eligibility for your ex's Social Security benefits — especially if you earned considerably less over the course of your career.

Effective legal representation can boost your eligibility for Social Security and other benefits. Work with the Brown Law Offices to devise the best strategy for post-divorce retirement savings.

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