Updated: Jul 25, 2022
Divorce: Sometimes Timing is Everything
If you’re contemplating a divorce, there may be good financial reasons to delay the filing. Were you a stay-at-home parent for years while the kids were growing up? Or perhaps you have always worked, but never earned nearly the salary your spouse made. Even if you are nowhere near retirement age, you are well-served to understand the Social Security divorced spouse benefit rules and how the timing of your divorce could mean thousands of dollars in additional income each year when you are ready to retire.
10 is Often the Magic Number
If yours is one of the above situations, there’s a good chance that the Social Security benefit you are entitled to based upon your own earnings record is less than half of your spouse’s benefit. Even if you’re divorced, you can still claim on your ex-spouse’s Social Security record. The key to being able to claim a Social Security benefit based upon the record of your ex-spouse sounds straightforward: Your marriage must have lasted at least 10 years. You can file for spousal Social Security benefits independent of when your ex-spouse files. The maximum divorced spouse benefit is 50% of what your “ex” would receive at full retirement age.
If one spouse is in the military, a 10-year marriage may also entitle an “ex” to military benefits and a portion of his or her pension.
The Widow/Widower Benefit
Even if you’re divorced, you can claim on your ex-spouse’s Social Security record after they’ve passed away. Again, your marriage must have lasted at least 10 years. In addition, you must have claimed your benefits BEFORE you remarry (a reason to delay a second marriage).
Plan Before You File Divorce
If you’re thinking about divorce, our experienced and trustworthy divorce lawyers at Fiffik Law Group are here to help you decide when the time is right to file. Our lawyers have provided guidance to thousands of clients and we’re ready to bring that experience to bear in your case. Contact us today.