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Gray divorces and Social Security benefits

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2024 | Divorce

Gray divorce refers to when older couples decide to end their marriages. As California is a community property state, all assets inside of the marital estate are typically divided in a 50/50 manner. In addition, you may be able to use your former spouse’s work record as the basis for your own Social Security payments.

How to qualify for a spousal benefit

To qualify for benefits based on your former spouse’s work record, you must be aged 62 or older. Furthermore, you must have been married to them for at least 10 consecutive years to qualify. Finally, you will only qualify if the former spouse’s benefit is higher than yours. Even then, you will only receive half of what your former spouse is set to receive in retirement.

Other variables to keep in mind

Your former spouse must also be 62 or older when you seek benefits based on his or her work record. In addition, you must be at least two years removed from your divorce before you request benefits unless your former spouse is already obtaining benefits. This is true whether you’re involved in a high-asset divorce or not, but you do not have to wait for your spouse to file if two years has already passed. If you remarry, you will no longer be entitled to payment based on your first spouse’s work record. However, eventually, it may be possible to receive benefits based on your current spouse’s work history.

In a divorce, you may be entitled to a variety of benefits that can make it easier to live as a single person. For instance, you may receive a portion of your spouse’s 401(k) or funds in a joint bank account as part of a settlement.