Is My Ex Entitled to My Social Security Benefits?
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
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.