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How divorce may affect Social Security benefits

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2020 | Family Law |

If you have been married for at least 10 years at the time of your Georgia divorce, you might be able to collect Social Security benefits after retirement based on the earnings of your ex-spouse. However, there are rules around this as well as a number of misunderstandings. For example, the benefits your ex-spouse can draw from Social Security are not affected by what you receive.

Requirements for drawing benefits

A few conditions must be in place for you to draw these benefits in addition to at least a decade of marriage. For example, you must be at least 62, and the amount you would receive on your own record must be less than what you would get from your ex-spouse’s record. Your former spouse must have begun claiming benefits or the divorce must have been at least two years ago and your ex-spouse must be eligible for benefits even if not drawing them.

Other considerations

In most cases, you must not have remarried to claim these benefits unless they are survivors benefits. However, there are situations in which if you remarry after 60, you might still be eligible to claim benefits. Some people might want to add a condition in the divorce settlement that prevents a former spouse from drawing Social Security benefits, but the Social Security Administration may not be bound by this.

The potential for drawing these benefits may not even be part of divorce negotiations, but a number of other issues might be. For example, couples will need to decide how to divide their property, and one person might be required to pay spousal support to the other. Georgia is an equitable property state, and this means that assets do not have to be divided equally as they would be in a community property state.


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