Divorce is not a simple proposition regardless of how long a couple has been married. The process can be lengthy and emotionally draining as the couple determines how to equitably divide their assets and move forward. When couples are retired, nearing retirement, or have been married for several years, there can also be an added concern regarding their respective social security benefits during divorce.
Qualifying for Your Former Spouses’ Benefit
The Social Security Administration has specific rules regarding former spouses and Social Security benefits. For example, a divorced person who had been married to their ex-spouse for 10 years or more, is eligible to receive benefits on their former spouse’s benefit record if: They are 62 or older; They are not married; Their ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits; and their own social security benefit is less than they would receive based on their ex-spouse's work.
The Benefit Amount
A person who qualifies for social security and their ex-spouse's benefit can only receive the higher of the two benefits. What this means is that if your ex-partner has a higher benefit than you, you can collect the higher of the two amounts. The amount you will get depends on what your spouse qualified for under Social Security. Ordinarily, at full retirement age, you will be qualified to receive half of your ex-spouse's benefit.
Re-Marriage and Your Former Spouse’s Benefit
Typically, when someone remarries, they will not be eligible for their ex-spouse's benefits unless their later marriage ends. However, a qualified former spouse may still be eligible for their ex-spouse's benefit even if their ex-spouse has remarried and even if their other spouse has also applied.
Additionally, there are certain rules which apply to people who were born after January 2, 1954, those whose former spouse has died, and individuals who are disabled. Ultimately, for couples who have been married for a significant period of time, there is a likelihood that social security could be part of the equitable division of their marital assets. However, understanding the various social security rules can be complicated. In this circumstance, it will be essential that you obtain the advice of an experienced family law attorney to discern how this critical benefit may be allocated during your divorce.
We have experienced divorce attorneys who can provide you with the help you need to understand your options. To learn more, contact Draper Law Office today at (866) 767-4711 or online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation in one of our Central Florida offices.