When you're divorcing, even if you're years away from retirement, you need to have your eye on the ball when it comes to Social Security. And not just your own benefits. One little-known aspect of divorce is, you may be able to receive a larger Social Security benefit based on your ex-spouse's work record than you would on your own.
You may be eligible to receive up to 50 percent of your ex-spouse's Social Security.
Make sure you have a good financial advisor who specializes in divorce, because the requirements can vary in terms of your eligibility to collect on an ex-spouse's benefit. Some requirements include:
- Married for 10 or more years.
- You are not currently married to someone else. (If you remarry, you cannot collect on your former spouse's benefit.)
- If your second spouse dies, you are qualified to collect on his or her benefit if you had been married 10 years.
- You must be 62 or older, unless your ex-spouse has died. Then you can collect at age 60.
One of the most important things to know: You must be divorced for at least two years.
Your ex-spouse must also be at least 62 and, obviously, eligible for Social Security benefits. He or she doesn’t have to be receiving the benefits in order for you to receive them.
You cannot collect on your spouse's benefits if you're remarried, but if your spouse remarries, it won't impact your benefits. You can still receive them.
However, one thing to consider is your own work history. You may qualify for more on your own.
If your ex-spouse passes away, you may become eligible for survivor benefits — even if you are divorced — if you were married for 10 years or more. In that case, you'd receive 100 percent of the benefits.
The issue of divorce and Social Security is confusing, with many variables. It requires the guidance of a financial advisor who specializes in it.
At Harbor West, we specialize in guiding people through these confusing financial issues when they're going through a divorce. We understand that, during this emotional, difficult time, finances may be the last thing on your mind. Let us handle those issues for you while you adjust to the new normal in your life.
This information is provided for general purposes and is subject to change without notice. Every effort has been made to compile this material from reliable sources; however, no warranty can be made as to its accuracy or completeness. Before acting on any of the information, please consult your Financial Advisor for individual financial advice based on your personal circumstances.