Social Security Benefits and Divorce: How Does it Work?

divorce lawyersDivorce is a major disruption in anyone’s life, and California residents understand that divorce can lead to significant changes in one’s financial well-being. At R & S Law Group, LLP, we are often asked about how divorce affect social security benefits, especially when they are tied to the soon-to-be ex-spouse.

This can be a complicated question, and each case is different. That said, there’s some general guidelines to be mindful of when it comes to collecting social security benefits from an ex-spouse. To put it simply, yes, an individual can collect benefits from their ex-partner, but only when certain requirements are fulfilled. Remember that this blog can only offer basic advice, and for any more specific or tailored legal counsel, you should always take time to speak with a qualified California divorce attorney before anything else.

Requirements for Collecting Social Security Benefits After a Divorce

Many are surprised to learn that, according to the Social Security Administration, a divorce doesn’t automatically mean no more Social Security spousal benefits. This can be a relief, especially for those who make much less than their soon-to-be ex-spouse, provided that the primary requirements are fulfilled.

The first requirement involves the length of the marriage. As per the Social Security Administration, a couple need to have been married for at least 10 years in order for ex-spouses to be eligible for Social Security spousal benefits.

Another requirement deals with the marital status of the person receiving the benefits. In order to remain eligible, a collecting spouse needs to remain single. If he/she remarries however, that individual could still qualify if the second marriage terminates due to divorce, death, or annulment.

Finally, the collecting spouse and his/her ex-spouse both need to be at least 62 years of age. This is primarily because the person’s ex-spouse must be eligible for benefits himself/herself in order for an ex-spouse to qualify.

Talk to a California Family Law Attorney

These are the primary factors that the Social Security Administration looks at when deciding whether an ex-spouse can continue collecting Social Security spousal benefits. When it comes to these types of matters, a skilled family law attorney can help steer you in the right direction to ensure that every choice you make is geared towards protecting your interests above anything else.

If you want to learn more about this issue, or other related family law/divorce matters, we invite you to call the seasoned California divorce attorneys at R & S Law Group, LLP. Give us a call at your earliest convenience to schedule a free initial consultation, where you can learn more about what we do.