Can an Ex-Spouse Collect Your Social Security
When you get divorced, issues such as asset division are settled in the decree. Many people assume this means their benefits, such as retirement, 401(k), and Social Security are no longer available for their former spouse. This is only partially true.
An Ex cannot collect your retirement benefits if your divorce decree is worded to prevent that eventuality. However, no matter what your divorce decree states, your Ex can collect on your Social Security – even years down the road, even if you remarried – so long as additional criteria are met.
Criteria for Collecting an Ex Spouse's Social Security
To collect on an Ex’s Social Security, the Social Security Administration requires:
- The marriage lasted 10 years or longer
- The Ex is over the age of 62
- The Ex is entitled to his or her own Social Security retirement or disability benefits and
- The benefits he or she is entitled to receive is less than the benefit that would be received based on the other spouse’s work
Your Ex can collect up to ½ of your full benefit amount (retirement or disability) so long as he or she has waited until full retirement age to file for benefits.
Full retirement age is:
- 1937 or earlier: 65
- 1938: 65 and 2 months
- 1939: 65 and 4 months
- 1940: 65 and 6 months
- 1941: 65 and 8 months
- 1942: 65 and 10 months
- 1943 – 1954: 66
- 1955: 66 and 2 months
- 1956: 66 and 4 months
- 1957: 66 and 6 months
- 1958: 66 and 8 months
- 1959: 66 and 10 months
- 1960 and later: 67
Reductions Based on Age
If your Ex meets all criteria, he or she is entitled to 50% of your benefits once you have reached full retirement age. However, if your Ex has not reached full retirement age, there will be a reduction in the percentage of benefits they receive.
While an Ex need only be 62 to collect your Social Security benefits, the reduction in benefits for Ex-spouses filing at the age of 62 is 67.5%. The closer an Ex gets to full retirement age, the larger his or her entitlement becomes.
The penalty for filing for an Ex’s benefits after the age of 62 but prior to full retirement age is as follows:
- 65% reduction at age 63
- 62.5% reduction at age 64
- 58.3% reduction at age 65
- 54.2% reduction at age 66
Once full retirement age has been reached your Ex will be entitled to 50% of your Social Security benefits providing all other criteria are met.
It is important to note that, if you have been divorced for more than two years, your Ex can file for benefits on our record even if you have not yet retired.
How Does Remarriage Impact Social Security Benefits?
If your Ex has not remarried, he or she can collect on your Social Security benefits. If your Ex has remarried, these benefits are waived. Excepting, of course, if that marriage ends in divorce. People who have multiple Ex’s may be entitled to collect Social Security survivor benefits from all of them providing they outlive their former spouses. However, in these cases, benefits will be disbursed proportionately to all beneficiaries.
If all of this sounds confusing, that’s because it is. This is just one of the many reasons you need an experienced divorce attorney on your side when ending a marriage.
There are so many things to bear in mind during divorce and, even when things are amicable, emotions can interfere with clear thinking. Sugar Land divorce attorneyYasmin Kutty can help keep things in perspective, protect your best interests, and ensure your needs are met. Give us a call at (713) 955-7477 to schedule a consultation and learn more.
Protecting Your Best Interests
Your Ex may be entitled to your Social Security benefits, but there are ways to protect your other assets. It is never a bad idea to consider a premarital agreement. This practical measure provides protections for both spouses in case of divorce and can be a very smart decision even in cases where no real property or assets yet exist. Some people view a prenup as an assumption the marriage will end. Nothing could be further from the truth. A prenuptial agreement is not anti-romance, it is pro-logic, and something that may prove essential for preventing the ruin of one partner.
If you did not have the foresight to sign a prenup but would like to protect your assets after vows have been said, a postnuptial agreement is possible. Like a prenup, a postnup allows for the separation of property and assets, and can be enforced without consideration during divorce proceedings. However, there can be some complications that arise if one party claims the agreement was not signed voluntarily. This is why it is essential to have an attorney create and oversee the signing of any pre or post-marital documents.
Sugar Land family lawyer Yasmin Kutty welcomes an opportunity to discuss this with you in greater detail during your initial consultation.
Why Choose the Kutty Law Firm
There are a number of divorce attorneys in the Houston area, which can make choosing the best one for your needs very complicated. It is important that you consider all of your options and choose a lawyer who will provide you with the most effective services.
Yasmin Kutty has over two decades of experience, half of which has been focused entirely on family law issues such as divorce, property and asset division, and pre and post-marital agreements. A member of the Texas State Bar Association, the Houston Bar Association, and the Fort Bend Bar Association. Mrs. Kutty is a dedicated and experienced family law attorney who is ready to work directly with you to protect your interests and help your family more easily move through these transitions.
To schedule a consultation at our Sugar Land office, contact us today. Mrs. Kutty represents men and women living in The Woodlands, Katy, Conroe, Spring, and all other areas near Houston.