Family Law: Social Security Benefits After Divorce

Why Stay Married For Ten Years?

If your marriage is nearing the ten-year mark, and you’re thinking of getting a divorce, here’s one reason to stick around for a little while–at least if your spouse earns more money than you do.

Social Security

Under current Social Security laws, a divorced spouse can get benefits on a former husband’s or wife’s Social Security record if the marriage lasted at least ten years. The divorced spouse must be 62 years of age or older and unmarried.

If the spouse has been divorced at least two years, he or she can get benefits on account of the worker’s record, even if the worker is not retired. However, the worker must have enough credits to qualify for benefits and be age 62 or older. The amount of benefits a divorced spouse can receive has no effect on the amount of benefits a current spouse can receive.

Here are a few factors to consider:

You may be entitled to more Social Security benefits on your own record than on your ex-spouse’s record if you have a more consistent work history than your ex-spouse and if you have typically earned more money.

If you are substantially younger than 62 you may well be skeptical about whether the Social Security system will be around in its current form by the time it is your turn to collect your benefits.

The rule requires you to remain single–but it may be more advantageous for you to marry rather than remaining single simply to preserve the right to these benefits.

For additional information see Social Security Online.