Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer

Social Security Benefits and Your Divorce

A recent FOX Business article emphasized the importance of understanding and considering how divorce may impact your Social Security benefits. In many cases, and particularly in long-term marriages in which one spouse worked and earned significantly more than the other, you may be entitled to more benefits based on your spouse’s earnings record than your own, which can mean thousands of dollars more in income each year. Additional income can be crucial for anyone, but especially for those who find themselves divorced after many years of marriage.

Qualifying for Your Ex-Spouse’s Social Security Benefits When You Retire

In order to potentially draw benefits from your ex-spouse’s earnings record, the amount of Social Security benefits for which you are eligible under your own earnings records must be less than half of what you could receive under your ex-spouse’s earnings record. This may be the case if your ex was a professional who earned quite a bit of money over his or her lifetime, while you spent years at home caring for children or only worked part-time at a relatively low-paying job for a few years. The number of years that you spend in the workforce and the your total earnings over your life directly impact the amount of Social Security benefits to which you are entitled.

The other important rule for qualifying for Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse’s earnings records, however, is that you and your ex-spouse must have been married for at least ten years before divorcing. This rule requires that you be married for ten consecutive years; you do not meet the ten-year requirement if you and your spouse were married for three years, separated and divorced, and then later remarried for another seven years until divorcing again.

Qualifying for Your Ex-Spouse’s Benefits as a Surviving Divorced Spouse

Even if your ex-spouse passes away following your divorce, you might qualify for survivors’ benefits as a surviving divorced spouse. This means that you could potentially be entitled to 100 percent of the amount of Social Security benefits that your ex-spouse was receiving at the time of his or her death. In order to qualify for benefits in this manner, however, you and your ex-spouse also had to have been married for at least ten years prior to your divorce. You also must have remained single after your divorce. If you remarried, then you would not be eligible for benefits as a surviving divorced spouse.

Helping You Through the Divorce Process and Beyond

At the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, we know Florida divorce law, as well as how you can obtain necessary financial support both during and after your divorce. We have represented many clients in Florida divorce and family law cases, and we know what it takes to achieve your goals. Please contact your Florida divorce attorney by calling 954-800-2362, or fill out the online form located on our website.