Will Social Security Benefits play a substantial role in my Texas Divorce?

Will Social Security Benefits play a substantial role in my Texas Divorce?

Divorce is no longer an endeavor for the young. So called ,”Gray Divorces” are on the arise around the country and Texas is no exception. As the number of these divorces increase so do concerns about an ex spouse’s ability to receive social security benefits from their former husband or wife. For younger people, this is a concern that probably wouldn’t rank very high on their list headed into a divorce. With older folks taking the plunge into divorce proceedings with regularity clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan have shown awareness and concern for their ability to potentially lose benefits from the Social Security Administration. If you find yourself in this group of folks who plan on divorcing their spouse while in their late 50s or early 60s, please read on to learn more about social security’s relationship to your Texas Divorce.

Ability to retire comfortably among reasons for concern over Social Security benefits

Long gone are the days when a person could work their day to day job and then retire comfortably at age 62 with only social security as their nest-egg. So while social security benefits are not the only means of sustaining oneself during your retirement years it certainly is an important piece of the puzzle.

Divorce can be an expensive process to undergo and the costs are accentuated if you are either retired or nearing retirement age. The reason being is that your ability to increase your income by taking on more work or earning more income is minimized the older you are. Hiring an attorney, paying court costs and mediation fees don’t come off as efficient ways to spend your golden-years money. Social security offers a means by which older Americans are able to enhance whatever nest-egg that they have accumulated whether through workplace savings or investments made on one’s own.

The amount of social security benefits that you stand to earn when you retire depends in large part on how long you have worked for and how much money you’ve earned during your working life. You can think of the taxes that you pay in social security on each paycheck as insurance premiums that you pay towards your future ability to collect benefits. Obviously this puts people that have never worked (stay at home parents, the disabled, etc.) at a disadvantage due to their having never paid social security taxes. It is imperative that no matter what end of the spectrum you fall as far as earned income during your life is concerned, that you are aware of what the law holds for divorcing spouses and their social security benefits.

You may qualify for divorced spousal Social Security benefits even if you don’t otherwise qualify

If you are a person who can be counted among those Americans who does not qualify for social security benefits due to your having not worked enough during your life it is possible for you to collect benefits based on the work history of your ex spouse. However, this is not easy to do and a strict manner of proceeding must be followed. Specifically:

-both spouses must be over the age of 62

-the spouses must have been married for at least ten years and been divorced for at least two years

-the “non earning” spouse must not be married when she or he applies for benefits under their ex-spouse’s name

The next question that I am frequently asked is whether or not the permission of the ex spouse whose benefits you are attempting to collect under must give his or her permission before you can file. The answer is no. If you find yourself in a situation where you are able to collect on multiple fronts for social security benefits the government will allow you to collect on the benefit amount which is greater for you. For example, if you attempt to collect social security benefits through your ex spouse and through your own work history you would stand to earn future benefits based off the source that provides more money to you, hypothetically.

What happens if you ex-spouse passes away? Are you still able to collect on their social security benefits?

If your ex spouse passes away and he or she was the spouse who earned the lions’ share of the income during your marriage, then you may be able to collect on nearly one hundred percent of that person’s stake in social security. If you are a person going through a divorce and your spouse is not in good physical health this should offer a bit of solace to you in the event that your ex spouse passes away. Benefits can be collected on for deceased persons as early as 60 years old or 50 years old if you survive your ex spouse and are disabled.

Closing thoughts on social security benefits in the context of a Texas Divorce

Social security is not a subject that is typically discussed with all that much regularity in our country. The most publicity we see around the subject tends to be at the time of federal elections where presidential candidates are asked to give their positions on the future of the program that offers a safety net for you, me and many of our fellow American citizens. If you are concerned with your ability to sustain yourself after retirement age arrives there is no need to fear, but there is a need to prepare. Young people should save what they can even if that means giving up certain things today. Older people don’t have the ability to let interest work in their favor if they do not begin saving for retirement until later in life but every little bit helps. Social security is properly viewed as another “every little bit” source of income for your retirement years.

Questions on social security and divorce? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today

If you have any remaining questions on social security and its impact on your divorce please do not hesitate to contact theLaw Office of Bryan Fagan today. Our licensed family law attorneys are available six days a week to meet with you for a consultation to answer questions and walk you through any areas of concern that you may have regarding divorce of any family law matter in Texas.


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Law Office of Bryan Fagan
Spring Divorce Attorney
Located at: 3707 Farm to Market 1960 W.,
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Houston, TX 77068
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