Did you know you may still be able to receive social security benefits based on your former spouse’s earnings after your divorce? You need to have been married at least ten years (another reason why the ten-year mark is significant) and meet other criteria. It is important to note that even if you are remarried, you may still be eligible to receive these benefits based upon your former spouse’s work history.
Derivative social security benefits in divorce are often overlooked or not contemplated when determining spousal support. While social security benefits are preempted by the Social Security Act and must be treated as the employee’s separate property, derivative social security benefits may be payable to an ex-spouse after the employee’s retirement following a marriage that lasted at least ten years.
This is a very technical area of the law that is often overlooked and will require consultation with an attorney or tax professional familiar with family law. If your former spouse was the high earner in a long term marriage, be sure you know your rights.