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Divorces can end up very messy for everyone involved, especially when it comes to finances. However, once you reach retirement age and become eligible for government benefits like Social Security, things can become even more complicated. Depending on factors like age, years of marriage, and remarriage, a divorce can have a serious impact on how your Social Security benefits are allocated. If you are thinking of getting a divorce, reach out to Sparta divorce attorneys at Paris P. Eliades Law Firm to learn more.

What happens to my Social Security benefits after a divorce?

At 62 years of age, you become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. In order for your Social Security benefits to be impacted, you and your former spouse need to have been married for at least 10 years. After the divorce, your ex-spouse can be entitled to up to half of your Social Security benefits. If they are collecting their own Social Security benefits, but your payments exceed the amount they are receiving, they do not collect on both benefits. Instead, they will receive their own Social Security benefits with an additional payment from you to make up for the difference.

If you have been divorced for at least two years, your ex-spouse can begin to claim benefits on your earnings even if you have not filed for Social Security benefits. Even if you remarry, your former spouse can still collect your benefits. However, if your ex-spouse remarries, it can nullify their eligibility for your Social Security. The amount of Social Security benefits your former spouse receives can also be reduced based on any owed alimony or child support payments.

What happens to my Social Security benefits if I pass away?

In the case of your passing, your ex-spouse will qualify for survivor benefits, which entitles them to potentially the full amount of your Social Security. Similarly to normal spousal benefits, certain requirements must be met for them to be eligible. They must be at least 60 years of age to be eligible, and 50 years of age if they are disabled. Whether they are single or remarried by that point is irrelevant to their eligibility.

Similarly to normal spousal benefits, this only applies to marriages that lasted 10 years or longer. However, this requirement can be waived in the case of your divorced spouse caring for any children under 16 years of age or disabled. The benefits will only remain in effect until the children reach 16 or are no longer disabled.

If you have any additional questions about Social Security benefits and divorce, please don’t hesitate to contact our seasoned New Jersey legal team today.