Marriage and Social Security go hand-in-glove in the eyes of the law, and that doesn't necessarily change in the event the marriage is terminated. Connecticut residents facing divorce may wish to learn more about how Social Security is impacted by a marital dissolution, particularly for those of middle age who have been married for some time. The same is true of remarriage -- an ex-spouse may be entitled to benefits over and above a new partner.
There are several factors influencing whether a former spouse can claim Social Security benefits. The duration of the marriage is chief among them -- if the union lasted more than 10 years, it is possible for an ex to claim benefits. Additionally, an ex can potentially claim benefits if she or he is over 62 years of age, is unmarried, is entitled to fewer SSI benefits than the former spouse or simply if the spouse in question is entitled to a particular level of benefits.
These rules typically vary from state to state, so it can be helpful to learn as much as possible about the regulations in one's home state. It can also be helpful for divorcing couples approaching the 10 year mark to hold off on signing final papers if Social Security benefits are a concern for both parties. Ultimately, prudence and patience are often the key to a mutually beneficial separation.
Divorce, as many Connecticut residents are already aware, can be a complicated process. Knowing more about how a divorce will influence both parties' futures can make a significant difference in how the proceedings will progress. Divorce is about moving forward with an individual's life, but it can also be about planning for that future together, even if the intent is to spend it apart.
Source: marketwatch.com, How divorce, remarriage impact Social Security, Robert Powell, Feb. 18, 2014