Can government benefits be divided during a divorce? Does length of marriage have an impact? Lee Rosen, retired divorce attorney and founder of the Rosen Law Firm, discusses.
Can my ex get my social security benefits? Transcript
Hi, I’m Lee Rosen. Can my ex get my social security benefits? Property division deals with everything, we deal with houses and cars and boats. We deal with furniture and other personal property. We frequently divide retirement plans, bank accounts, stock accounts and you name it.
We even deal with assets you wouldn’t think of, like frequent flyer miles and other points, and benefits from all sorts of things people get involved with. We end up discussing stock options and patents and copyrights. Boy, the sky is just the limit, so it really shouldn’t be any surprise that we get lots of questions about whether your spouse might be entitled to get some of your social security benefits.
So, here is the deal, first off you need to know that the process that you go through with your lawyer will have no effect on social security. There is nothing that we can do. There is nothing that we can say. There is no document that we can draft that will impact the social security situation at all. The law controls here and it has absolutely nothing to do with the agreements between the parties.
So you don’t have to worry about your lawyer doing something to protect these rights or you don’t have to worry about the other lawyer doing something that might cause you not to get these rights. The lawyer won’t control the situation because the divorce process has no impact on the situation. That’s key. That’s critical.
Then the next thing you need to know is that social security benefits are only awarded when a marriage has lasted at least ten years. When we’re dealing with a marriage of shorter duration there is no social security benefit derived from as a result of your marriage. So you’re not going to see it in those cases. Be aware of those two things. The legal process won’t change it and you have to be married at least 10 years and then you’re on the right path.
So, what’s the bottom line? Where do you stand? Well, here’s the deal, if you’re entitled to social security benefits because of your marriage to your spouse you’re still going to get them and if you’re the spouse that has benefited the other spouse you’re not going to be hurt by the divorce process. Nothing we do in this process is going to change what’s going to happen.
So the real answer to this question is that you need to not worry about the divorce process and how it will effect social security. If you want to know what you’re going to get or what your benefits are going to be go direct to the social security administration. That’s the place for the answers to these questions. Nothing we do in this divorce process is going to positively or negatively impact your benefits.