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Divorce Timing and Your Social Security Benefits

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BLOG DM Why Does Child Support Exist PhotoSocial Security benefits can change drastically when a couple decides to get divorced. Especially in situations where one spouse had a significantly higher salary that the other, or when one spouse stayed at home, one spouse’s benefits could be much lower, which might make it difficult for that person to stay afloat financially once the divorce becomes final.

Fortunately, there are ways for the spouse with lesser benefits to receive additional Social Security benefits based on their spouse’s work history. The key to having a claim to a portion of your spouse’s benefits lies in the 10-year requirement; as long as you and your spouse have been married for 10 consecutive years, you can supplement your own income with part of your spouse’s. The highest possible benefit you can receive is 50 percent of what your spouse would get at Full Retirement Age (FRA).

If, God forbid, one party has passed away, can the divorced spouse still benefit from the decedent’s Social Security benefits? Fortunately, the answer is yes, as long as the couple has been married for 10 years or more. Social Security has a rule allowing surviving divorced spouses to claim up to 100 percent of the amount the decedent was receiving before he or she passed away.

These rules only apply, however, if you have not remarried. If you are remarried, in typical circumstances you will not be able to claim benefits on your ex-spouse’s record unless your new marriage ends, either by death, divorce or annulment.

The Denver divorce attorneys at Divorce Matters are committed to assuring that you receive your full share of your marital assets after divorce.