Burke Levy, P.C.

Family law: Can I get Social Security on an ex's work record?

There is little denying the financial impact that a divorce can have on a person's life. However, rather than dissuade those in Massachusetts who are interested in filing, it should instead encourage them to be more vigorous in their approach. Considering all possible financial aspects of a divorce -- including possible Social Security benefits -- and how they apply to family law can help ensure that both parties find sure financial footing after a divorce.

In some cases, an ex-spouse may be eligible for spousal benefits based on their ex's work record. However, an individual must first meet the Social Security Administration's rules before they can qualify. For instance, the person's marriage must have been at least 10 years long. Any marriages lasting shorter than that are not eligible.

To receive Social Security benefits in this manner, divorcees must also remain unmarried. Remarrying disqualifies a person from drawing benefits on their ex-spouse's record, but there may be some exceptions. A person who draws benefits based on an ex's record, remarries and then loses their second spouse to divorce, annulment or death may still be eligible for past benefits from the first ex-spouse. Also, an ex who remarries will not affect the person receiving benefits based on that ex's record.

There are several other rules dictating when a person may begin drawing benefits, including a minimum age of 62. Although it is not necessary to include this information in a divorce settlement, it is a good idea to address the issue during divorce proceedings. Making sure that both parties are aware of all possible means of financial support is important, and an experienced Massachusetts family law counsel can usually help provide invaluable guidance for locating and understanding these possibilities.

Source: wisebread.com, "How Divorce Can Impact Your Social Security Payments", Emily Guy Birken, Dec. 6, 2017

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