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How the Social Security Administration deals with divorce

Spouses in Texas and around the country who earn very little may be entitled to receive Social Security retirement benefits based on the incomes earned and the contributions made by their husbands or wives, and these benefits are often still available to them even when their marriages end in a divorce. Divorced spouses are entitled to these benefits if they were married for 10 or more years, have not remarried, and their former spouses are eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits.

People who meet these requirements can receive half of the Social Security benefits their former spouses are entitled to if they have reached their full retirement age. This age is based on an individual's year of birth and is 67 for those born after 1960. They can begin to receive reduced benefits at the age of 62 even if their former spouses are not yet claiming benefits as long as they have been divorced for at least two years.

who remarry following a divorce are generally no longer eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on their former spouse's earnings record, but they become eligible once again if their subsequent marriage ends in divorce, death or annulment. Those who were married for 10 years or longer more than once may claim benefits based on the record of only one of their former spouses.

The eligibility to receive Social Security benefits is often an important consideration during spousal support and property division negotiations, and experienced family law attorneys may call on retirement specialists in these situations to make sure that their clients fully understand the long-term implications of the decisions they make. Attorneys could also point out Social Security eligibility requirements to clients who are considering a divorce but have not yet been married for 10 years.

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