Social Security and Divorce

Divorcing late in life is becoming more common. This brings up questions about how dividing finances works for retirement assets. One area where this is easy is Social Security benefits. In fact, you may be able to claim your ex-spouse’s benefits long after a divorce happened if you meet certain conditions.


First, to even think of claiming your ex-spouse’s benefits, you had to have been married for at least 10 years and not currently be remarried. You will also need to wait at least two years after the divorce unless your ex-spouse is already receiving disability or retirement money. If you meet these requirements, here’s what you can do.


The magic age to start collecting on spousal benefits is 66 (at least up to 2020 as of the time of this writing). If you wait until full retirement age you can collect up to half of what your ex-spouse can collect at their full retirement age. Your spouse will still be able to collect their full amount as well. Why is this good? You can defer your main SSI payment until age 70, which boosts your final payments dramatically, 8% a year plus inflation.


However, in order to make the best decision on whether to take your benefits or spousal benefits you will need access to your ex-partner’s earnings information. The Social Security Administration can get you those numbers with an in-person meeting and proof of marriage, but it is easier to just get them from your ex’s Social Security Earnings Statement.


For more information about how divorce affects retirement benefits, contact Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC.

STAY UP TO DATE

Subscribe to our newsletters

 
Subscribe to one or more of our newsletters, delivering meaningful insight on topics that matter to you and your family.

FURTHER READING

Latest Blog Posts

Many people find it challenging to get started with estate planning. From confusion about the process to denying that estate planning is necessary, there are various reasons why people do not want to create an estate plan. That said, estate…

After divorce, it is common to experience feelings of shame. That shame could arise from multiple sources, including feeling that you let your spouse or children down or because you are worried about what others may think of you. Regardless…

Estate planning can feel overwhelming, but it is necessary to ensure your assets are in order and your loved ones are taken care of. Establishing an estate plan can also make certain issues easier for you and your family during…

In Washington state, alimony is referred to as maintenance. Maintenance is court-ordered spousal support payments that one spouse makes to assist with the living expenses of the other spouse for a period of time and for a particular purpose.  Maintenance…

The homes. The boat. The investment accounts. During a high-net-worth divorce, the disposition of these and other assets (and debts) may be one of the most significant reasons underlying the contention between you and your soon-to-be-ex, making these types of…

This is part three of our three-part series, “Expecting the Unexpected.” You can read part one on catastrophic illness here and part two on chronic illness here. Estate planning may initially bring to mind the process of outlining the manner…

It seemed like it was going to be just another day. Get the kids off to school, do household chores, go to work. But then your spouse let you know it was over between you, that they want a divorce.…

This is part two of three in our series “Expecting the Unexpected. You can read part one on catastrophic illness here. For many, estate planning immediately brings to mind ways you can protect your assets and retirement funds for your…

When considering divorce, you may toy with the idea of representing yourself. For example, you may think your divorce will be relatively straightforward. Or maybe you consider yourself a savvy negotiator and highly intelligent. Or the idea of saving yourself…

While estate planning is often associated with enjoying assets while you are alive and then preparing for their disposition to inheritors after death, there are more outcomes estate plans can aid in to adequately protect the quality of your life…