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The relationship between divorce and Social Security

When a Texas family faces hard times and the challenges lead to the end of a marriage, the range of emotions and issues to overcome are great. Whether a complex divorce or an uncontested divorce, the process is never easy. Child custody, visitation plans, alimony, property division and more must all be agreed upon before a divorce is able to be finalized by the courts.

In addition to the obvious issues facing most divorcing couples, there are many lesser-known issues about which to become educated as well. One of these was the subject of a recent media article. The report indicated that for a couple whose marriage lasted more than 10 years, one of the former spouses may have the ability to claim his or her ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits. A report issued by a W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research explains how the potential benefit could be claimed and recommends that people considering divorce close to the 10-year mark consider waiting until after that milestone has been realized.

There are very specific criteria that would deem a person eligible or not for such a benefit. These include age, remarriages by either party, the real earnings of both persons and for how long the couple has been divorced. The economist’s study also noted trends in divorce based upon the age of the spouses and the length of time a marriage lasts.

Regardless of your age or situation, working with an attorney when getting divorced may be able to help you understand your options during and after divorce more fully. Taking the opportunity to protect yourself now and down the road can offer great protection.

Source: Market Watch, “How divorce, remarriage impact Social Security,” Robert Powell, February 18, 2014

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