Social Security payments are an anticipated source of income for most California residents and others around the nation as they approach retirement. Many have worked for years on jobs and have included estimates from the government agency in their projections of retirement income. However, as more older couples decide to end their marriages, those getting a divorce may need to examine how potential Social Security income may be affected. Census Bureau statistics show that over the past 25 years, the divorce rate for those over 50 has almost doubled.

When a person gets divorced after at least 10 years of marriage and is age 62 or older, he or she is eligible to claim benefits using the work record of the ex-spouse. Individuals may claim their own Social Security benefit or use the ex-spouse’s work record. However, if the individual remarries, the eligibility to receive a benefit with respect to the ex-spouse’s earnings record is gone. If the second marriage ends in divorce or death, benefits could be claimed from that spouse if the marriage also lasted over 10 years.

Financial advisors note that survivor benefits may be claimed if an ex-spouse has passed away if someone is over age 60. However, if the living spouse remarries before age 60, that eligibility ends. Experts recommend getting as much information as possible to learn what benefits might be available.

It can be difficult to thoroughly grasp how Social Security benefits may be affected by divorce. An experienced California divorce lawyer can help clients understand this and other important aspects of the process. A trusted attorney is a much-needed ally that will work to obtain favorable results in the divorce.

Source: CNBC, “How getting married can mess up your Social Security“, LorieKonish, Jan. 27, 2018