Collecting ex-spouse's Social Security benefits

Florida couples who are considering or fearing a divorce have a great many things to consider. Even the simplest situation can result in a complex divorce. Some of the most common areas of challenge include spousal support, property division, child custody and related visitation plans. Put together with the emotional side of things, the end of a marriage is difficult.

For people who look down the road when getting divorced, preparing for retirement and long-term income is natural. A current article in the media seems aimed at these people as it discusses the potential to claim an ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits in certain situations. A study conducted by an economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research recommends to people contemplating divorce that they may wish to wait depending upon the length of their marriage.

The reason for this is to protect a potential future income stream. For marriages that lasted more than 10 years, it is possible for one spouse to collect on the other spouse’s Social Security benefits. This is not to say that every person divorced after 10 years of marriage can claim their former spouse’s Social Security but it can happen if criteria about remarriages, age and the earnings of both persons are also be met.

It is nuances such as these that can too easily be overlooked when focusing on more looming issues like spousal or child support. Working with a trusted family law attorney may be the best way to ensure that all small details like this are covered when getting divorced.

Source: Market Watch, “How divorce, remarriage impact Social Security,” Robert Powell, February 18, 2014

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