Divorce has far-reaching implications. Heightened emotions, conflicts, problems in child custody and divorce legal issues are all part of the divorce process in Colorado. Because of the emotional impact of divorce, spouses sometimes fail to consider other issues that might play an important role in their post-divorce life. One example is eligibility for Social Security benefits after divorce.
After a divorce, one spouse can claim a share of the other spouses' benefits if certain requirements are met. The Social Security Administration states that a divorced spouse can collect Social Security benefits based on their ex-spouse's earnings history if the marriage lasted for 10 years or more. In addition, the spouse claiming benefits must be at least 62 or older and unmarried, and the benefits available under the claiming spouse's own work history must be less than those available from the other spouse.
When considering Social Security benefits upon a divorce, couples must make a rational decision on the right time to end a marriage. Because one of the qualifications is a marriage that lasted for 10 years or more, it may be worthwhile for a couple to wait until their 10-year anniversary before filing the divorce papers.
In addition to retirement benefits, divorced spouses may be entitled to survivor benefits equal to those of a widow or widower. This eligibility still applies even if a surviving ex-spouse remarries after the age of 60.
When going through a divorce, preparing for retirement may be last thing divorcing couples think about. However, Social Security benefits can be as important as property division in a divorce.
Source: KSL.com, "What you should know about Social Security and divorce," Flint Stephens, Dec. 9, 2014