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Separating myth from reality about Social Security in a divorce

On Behalf of | Sep 9, 2021 | Divorce |

Many negotiations in a Texas divorce are related to real estate, bank accounts, stock portfolios, automobiles, collectibles and jewelry. However, people might not realize that they can claim part of the other spouse’s Social Security benefits.

Knowing the facts about splitting Social Security in a divorce

It is important to get beyond misconceptions about Social Security in a divorce. Research shows that more than half of those who were concerned about their Social Security being shared in a divorce thought that it would negatively impact their amount. This is not true. A divorce decree cannot specifically preclude a person from receiving part of the other spouse’s Social Security benefits. If the marriage lasted for a minimum of 10 years, it can be shared. The spouse who is getting Social Security does not need to approve that the benefits be split.

The basics for getting Social Security are that a person must be at least 62 and have 40 work credits, meaning they accrued at least 10 years of full-time employment. The spouse who wants part of that Social Security does not need to wait until the eligible spouse begins collecting to get their share. Those who have their own Social Security benefits do not have the option of choosing their own or their former spouse’s; they will receive whichever is higher.

It is important to know the law for all aspects of a divorce

Failure to be aware of the law can result in a person not getting everything that he or she is entitled to. Social Security benefits are often confusing, so individuals who understand the law are at an advantage when it comes to negotiating a favorable settlement.