Social Security Issues To Consider During Divorce
If you are approaching your retirement years or your spouse has already achieved that accomplishment, you may have numerous questions about your Social Security benefits. If you are considering filing for divorce, these questions could be even more pressing than they ordinarily would be. It is important to understand how your benefits may be affected before you finalize your divorce settlement.
The positive news is that divorcees generally retain the right to collect their former spouse’s Social Security benefits in the same way that married couples do. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule and guidelines that govern distribution of these kinds of benefits.
In order to collect Social Security retirement benefits based on your spouse’s work record, you must have been married for a minimum of 10 years upon the finalization of your divorce. In addition, you and your spouse must generally both be at least 62 years of age. You may also be required to wait two years until after your divorce has been finalized to collect new benefits. Finally, you cannot be remarried if you wish to collect Social Security benefits based on your former spouse’s work record.
There are a number of complex exceptions to the above guidelines. Therefore, if you are an older American and are considering divorce, please consult an experienced attorney with any questions that you may have about how dissolving a marriage can affect Social Security benefits. Even if your situation does not meet the above criteria, you may still be eligible to collect benefits after divorce.
Source: Huffington Post, “How Divorce Can Affect Your Social Security,” Jim T. Miller, Nov. 11, 2013