For a handful of people going through a divorce in California, it can be staggering to imagine what will happen to your social security. Divorce affects people’s lives forever, even when it is a mutual decision intended for the best. Ex-spouses of all ages find themselves in various situations regarding their social security, but the majority of the time, a fair and convenient arrangement is made in the end.
Social Security benefits can be collected by a divorced spouse in three ways:
- upon his or her personal contributions
- as a spouse
- as an ex-spouse of a provider
The divorced spouse must be at least 62 years of age and unmarried in order to collect social security. It is also important to know that even though the ex-spouse gets the value of a percentage of his or her benefits, there is usually no cutback in benefits for the primary contributor. If the contributing partner is deceased, the surviving ex-spouse can accumulate benefits at age 60 provided that he or she has not remarried.
In order to qualify to receive fifty percent of the value of the ex-spouse’s benefit, or collect one hundred percent of his or her own benefit, whichever is greater, a divorced spouse must have been married for ten years or more. It is up to you and your spouse whether or not you both wish to stay married for a few more years, or however longer, if it means making it past the ten-year mark.
Once a divorce is officially filed and all the paperwork has been signed and processed, at least two years must go by before the divorced spouse can start collecting from the contributing ex-spouse. An exception to this is if the ex-spouse is at least 62 years old and already receives benefits. In the situation of a divorced spouse remarrying, he or she is no longer entitled to a percentage of the benefits from the previous ex-spouse. However, if the remarriage comes to an end, then the divorced spouse becomes eligible once again for benefits from the previous ex-spouse.
It is no surprise that social security issues after a divorce are complex. Even when a particular matter is sorted out, it may be subject to change based on evolving factors in the lives of the ex-spouses. This is why it is important to seek legal counsel from a skilled California divorce attorney as soon as possible. The Family Law Offices of Wallin and Klarich have over 30 years of experience helping individuals and have the knowledge to assist you with your social security eligibility, contributor status, and percentage of benefits. Please contact us today for a consultation.
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