Can you collect your spouse’s Social Security after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2022 | Blog, Divorce |

Many Louisiana residents plan to depend upon Social Security during retirement. For married couples, a spouse’s Social Security benefits may play a role in your retirement plans too. However, a divorce can drastically change your ability to depend upon your spouse’s benefits.

Divorces and court orders

If you plan to depend upon your former spouse’s Social Security benefits, federal law already allows it. Determination of benefits does not fall under family law jurisdiction. You do not need a court order, and the divorce trial does not need to discuss it. You simply need to meet the requirements that the Social Security Administration has already established.


Not all individuals will meet the eligibility requirements for claiming an ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits. The qualifications include:

  • You must have been married for at least 10 years.
  • Your ex-spouse must qualify for Social Security benefits.
  • You must be at least 62 unless your ex-spouse has died.
  • Your ex-spouse’s benefits must be greater than yours.

Re-marriage effects on benefits

Your claim to your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits ends if you marry someone else. The only exception exists if you remarry after the age of 60. Your former spouse’s marital status does not affect your ability to claim their benefits.

Effects on your spouse

If you enjoyed an amicable divorce, you may worry about how collecting Social Security benefits based on your spouse’s income will affect your spouse. It will not have any effect on your former spouse or their current partner. They will still be able to claim benefits. In fact, you do not even need to tell them that you will file for Social Security based on their income.

Protecting your retirement

Filing for Social Security benefits may cause confusion. That confusion may be doubled when you qualify for an ex-spouse’s benefits. But understanding your rights to these benefits may increase the financial stability you enjoy in retirement.


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