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Drawing Social Security benefits after divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2021 | Family Law

Creating financial security after divorce can be a challenge, but it is far from impossible. Securing spousal support and making sure one receives an equal portion of the marital assets are just two of many options for those who are worried about money. Some divorcees in Texas might even qualify for Social Security benefits based on an exspouse’s work history. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about how to get these benefits after divorce. 

Clearing up the confusion 

Divorce does not automatically qualify someone for benefits based on his or her ex’s work record. To qualify, the couple must have been married for a period of at least 10 years, and the divorce must have been finalized for at least another two. It is not possible to choose whether benefits are available based on one’s own or an ex’s record either — he or she will qualify for whichever amount is higher. 

Since it is not possible to choose, some people may end up not filing for benefits at all. This is because more than half of adults believe that drawing on their ex’s history reduces how much the other person gets. This is not true, as drawing based on an ex’s work history will not impact his or her benefits at all. Other common misconceptions people in Texas may have heard include that:  

  • A divorce decree can prevent one from filing for benefits 
  • One must wait for an ex to get benefits first 
  • One must get permission from an ex 

Planning for life after divorce should not wait until everything is finalized. This is because every decision made during the divorce process has the ability to impact one’s future financial success. Considering matters such as how to draw Social Security benefits and deciding whether to ask for spousal support can be key to a happy postdivorce life.