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Social Security division in a Divorce

Most working people in our country are aware that as part of the taxes taken out of your pay, part goes towards social security taxes. What fewer people realize is that the amount of money we stand to receive upon retirement can be greater if their spouse’s work record were to be taken into consideration instead of their own.

You can have both your work record and your spouse’s compared to one another by the Social Security Administration and whichever results in a higher payout to you then that is the one that will be applied.

What happens, then, in the event that you get a divorce from your spouse? Are you still able to take advantage of your ex-spouse’s social security benefits and receive them instead of your own? Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC will go over that subject and include some other pertinent information on Social Security and divorce in general.

Receiving social security benefits from a spouse post-divorce

You can receive Social Security benefits based on your spouse’s work history in a divorce. This can be done without having to go through any extra steps in your divorce and you can even do so in the event that your ex-spouse decides to remarry.

In order to take advantage of your ex-spouse’s work history and collect benefits based on their contributions, you must be able to meet the following standards:

  1. Your marriage must have lasted for ten years or longer
  2. You must be 62 years old or older. At age 60 you can begin to collect Social Security benefits as a surviving divorced spouse if your spouse has passed away. If your spouse has passed away and you are disabled under social security guidelines then you may collect those benefits at age 50.
  3. You cannot be married to anyone currently, with the following conditions:

-In the event that you decide to remarry, you would not ordinarily be able to collect social security benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work history unless your second married ends due to death or divorce

-If you do end up getting married and then your second spouse passes away you would be able to choose which of your two spouses you are able to collect benefits from. Again, however, your first marriage must have lasted for at least ten years. You and your second spouse must have been married for at least nine months prior to their having passed away.

If you are older than your ex-spouse do you have to wait for him or her to begin collecting benefits before you can?

The answer to this question is no in most cases.

In the event that your ex-spouse has not yet applied for benefits but is over the age of 62 (the earliest a person can elect to begin to receive social security benefits) and is eligible for benefits then you may start to receive benefits as long as you have been divorced from your spouse for more than two years.

How much of your ex-spouse’s benefits are you actually going to be eligible to receive?

50% of your ex-spouse’s retirement benefits are what you are eligible to receive from the Social Security Administration.

In the event that he or she passes away before you do then you can receive the entire amount of his or her retirement benefits. If you choose to retire and to begin to collect his or her benefits prior to your reaching your full retirement age of 67 then your benefit amount will be reduced.

Suppose that your ex-spouse remarries and his or her new spouse is already collecting benefits based on your ex-spouse’s working history.

You would probably be interested in whether or not this will have an effect on your ability to collect benefits as well. Your taking advantage of your ex-spouse’s retirement benefits will not impact in any way the ability for your ex-spouse’s new spouse to collect as well.

Supporting children after your ex-spouse passes away

If you are raising a child you had with your ex-spouse and he or she passes away your child can receive benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work history as well. This is true as long as the child is under the age of 18 or is under 19 and still a full-time student in high school.

If your child is over the age of 18 then there is still a chance that he or she could collect benefits based off of your ex-spouse’s work history in the event that he or she is disabled. You, too, can receive a benefit for raising a child under the age of 16.

Receiving Social Security Benefits based on your own work history and that of your ex-spouse

There have been changes of late to the rules associated with spousal benefits and Social Security. The rule now is that you will be automatically be given the most amount of benefits based on your or your ex-spouse’s work history, assuming that you are eligible for both.

If you choose to hold off on collecting social security benefits until you turn 67 instead of at 62 you can do so, but you cannot collect on your ex-spouse’s benefits during that five-year waiting period.

Either way, you must first apply for benefits as they will not be sent to you automatically.

Questions about divorce and social security benefits? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

There are many aspects to a divorce that are worth your consideration- ones that you may not necessarily think of immediately when deciding whether or not to file for divorce. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC are equipped to answer your questions on this subject or any other in family law.

To schedule a free of charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys please do not hesitate to contact our office today. A licensed family law attorney from our office will be available six days a week to meet with you to answer your questions.


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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Will Social Security Benefits play a substantial role in my Texas Divorce?
  2. Is Social Security Considered Separate Property in a Texas Divorce
  3. Key Elements of a Divorce for persons over the age of 50
  4. 7 Tips for Divorcing After Age 50 in Texas
  5. Divorcing After Age 50 in Texas: What it Can Mean for You and Your Spouse
  6. Texas Divorce and Retirement & Employment Benefits by the Numbers
  7. Is Social Security Considered Separate Property in a Texas Divorce?
  8. Will My Spouse Get Part of My Retirement in Our Texas Divorce?
  9. Husband Loves His Wife and Wants a Divorce in Texas “On Paper” for Strategic Financial Reasons?
  10. Roadmap of Basic Divorce Procedure in Texas
  11. 6 Mistakes that can Destroy Your Texas Divorce Case

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.


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