Divorce alone raises complex questions and equations when it comes to property division and figuring out spousal support. According to financial professionals and divorce attorneys, the issue of Social Security benefits largely contributes to the complicated nature of divorce. But from a financial standpoint, understanding Social Security benefits and your spousal rights to them is crucial if you want your fair share of financial support after divorce.
The following are just two important, basic rules about Social Security benefits and divorce that everyone should know:
- If your marriage lasted 10 years or longer and your spouse paid into the Social Security system, you are entitled to likely half of their retirement benefits after the split. If you have also been working and paying into the system, however, make sure you know whether you or your ex's retirement payouts are higher. You can only claim one, so it would be wise to pick the one that would best support you financially.
- Getting remarried affects whether you can claim spousal support from your ex's Social Security benefits. If you remarry before turning 60, you lose rights to your ex's benefits. It's important to at least know that during divorce so that if you ever do want to remarry, you can at least know the financial repercussions of your decision and not plan your finances based on a false idea.
These rules are complicated, which is why reviewing them with legal and financial professionals during divorce and/or before getting remarried is a must. You have certain rights as a former spouse and deserve to know your options and what you are entitled to when making all family law decisions.
Star-Telegram: "Divorce can complicate Social Security claims," Kathy Kristof, 11 Mar. 2011