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Social Security retirement benefits following a divorce

When a couple in Massachusetts has been married for a significant period of time and chooses to end their marriage, there are often many assets that must be shared. While some are obvious, such as real estate and bank accounts, many people may overlook their right to Social Security retirement benefits. These benefits are complicated as is, but when a divorce is thrown into the mix, even more confusion can result.

If a couple has been married for at least 10 years at the time of a divorce, a spouse may have the option of claiming benefits based on their former spouse's earnings. This option is available even if the spouse has remarried. In some cases, a person may choose to delay their divorce settlement so that the marriage hits the 10-year mark.

If the spouse seeking such benefits chooses to remarry, he or she may not be able to claim benefits. However, if the former spouse is deceased and the remarriage happened after the age of 60, such a claim may still be possible. Claims can only be made two years after the divorce is final.

Those in Massachusetts who are seeking a divorce may be unaware of their options regarding certain benefits and/or the prerequisites for them, such as minimum requirements concerning the length of a marriage. Fortunately, there are professionals with experience with family law who can ensure that those who are ending a marriage fully understand all of their options. Despite some of the complications associated with such a decision, the end of a marriage is often the first step to a happier, more fulfilling future.

Source: nerdwallet.com, "Divorce Doesn't Preclude Social Security Spousal Benefits", Jim Ludwick, July 13, 2016

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