Consider Social Security benefits when going through a divorce

Most Alabama residents and others around the nation hope that Social Security benefits will be part of their retirement income in the future. However, if a person is going through a divorce, his or her potential benefits may be affected. While an individual’s benefits typically do not change, there may be additional benefits due because of an ex-spouse’s work history.

Whether or not a divorced spouse is entitled to spousal benefits depends largely on how long a marriage lasted. For example, a divorced spouse can typically claim benefits if the couple was married over 10 years. On the other hand, someone married less than 10 years could not claim spousal benefits.

Other Social Security guidelines apply across the board, whether married or divorced. A person must be 62 years old before claiming spousal benefits. Someone can claim these benefits even if a former spouse hasn’t claimed retirement benefits, which is different than the process for married couples. When a person remarries, he or she will lose the right to spousal benefits. However, even if an ex-spouse remarries, someone’s benefits will remain unchanged.

Survivor benefits are handled similarly to spousal benefits. The benefits are also dependent on at least a 10-year marriage. Also, the benefits are payable even if an ex-spouse remarries. However, if an individual remarries after age 60, the survivor benefits are not forfeited.

Dividing assets during a divorce can be a complicated process, whether or not Social Security benefits are an immediate concern. An Alabama divorce attorney can provide valuable guidance to someone going through a divorce. An experienced lawyer will act in a client’s best interest and work toward achieving a favorable outcome in the proceedings.

Source:, “Divorced? Here’s What You Need to Know About Social Security“, Dan Caplinger, Oct. 12, 2017