Important Facts About Social Security & Divorce


If you’re worried about your retirement after a divorce, the good news is that you have options available to secure your financial situation. Learn more about the Social Security benefits offered to divorced spouses here.

Divorce & Social Security: What You Need to Know

Social Security benefits are an important part of most American’s income during their retirement years. Your total net benefits granted by the SSA are based on your “work credits” and lifetime earnings. When a couple is married, both are eligible for Social Security marriage benefits. This means that even if one spouse didn’t work, they can still file for benefits based on their partner’s income. This is based on the understanding that sometimes one spouse will stay at home to raise children or support their partner in his or her career.

If your former spouse was the primary source of income and you are now divorced, you may be wondering how this impacts your potential Social Security benefits.

Fortunately, Social Security benefits for divorced individuals are very much like the benefits that a married couple maintains. You can receive retirement benefits based on your ex-spouse’s lifetime earnings if they’re higher than your own. However, you’ll still need to meet the following criteria first:

  • You’re unmarried.
  • Your former spouse’s benefit is higher than your own.
  • You’re older than age 62.
  • Your former spouse is entitled to retirement or disability benefits.
  • You have been married for enough years to qualify.

You can file for these benefits anytime you’re eligible. It’s not something that needs to be addressed during your divorce case and it doesn’t have to be included in your paperwork. However, dividing retirement accounts is something that should be addressed during the divorce.

If you’re worried about your future retirement after divorce, consider discussing your concerns with a family law attorney for guidance. There may be options you can pursue that would alleviate financial problems later in life including alimony, spousal Social Security, division of retirement accounts, and lump-sum payments.

Hobson / Oram Law

Hobson Oram Law