When couples file for divorce, the benefits they are eligible to receive can be dependent on factors like timing. When it comes to Social Security, for instance, individuals may be permitted to claim benefits based on their former partner’s earning records if the marriage lasted at least 10 years.
The 10-year rule incorporates stringent qualification standards. One woman whose marriage lasted only days short of 10 years was denied divorced spousal benefits upon applying for Social Security. Another couple that got divorced amicably following about nine years and six months of marriage discovered that getting remarried for six months wouldn’t help the lower-earning ex-spouse meet the qualification because the 10 years of marriage need to be consecutive.
Although there are certain allowances that make spousal Social Security benefits more accessible, these also come with their own rules. Those who seek to qualify for the benefits granted to widows and widowers may do so after having been married for just nine months, but to enjoy such eligibility, benefit-seekers also need to have been married to their spouses when they died. Surviving divorced spouses also need to meet the 10-year marriage-length minimum to receive Social Security benefits equal to what their deceased ex-spouse would have been entitled to receive.
Planning a divorce can be a complex task. In order to implement a sustainable arrangement, couples need to consider issues like child support amounts, the needs of children and the employment status of each partner. A family law attorney can often be of assistance to a divorcing spouse in negotiating a settlement agreement that takes these and other matters into account.