Spouse Benefits in a Divorce

Authored by Wendy Witt, Esq.

Health Insurance and Pension Work Benefits

As you likely have discovered, if you legally divorce, neither of you will be eligible for the other spouse's work benefits.

However, depending on your state law, you may be able to sign agreements to be financially "divorced", but not legally divorced. This may work for you; however, if you want to marry someone else, you must be legally divorced as well.

Such financial agreements are sometimes called a "divorce from bed and board", meaning that you are ending the agreement you made when you married - the one where you agreed to financially support each other - but for whatever you want to keep such as the health insurance or pension benefits that you mention.

Because state law varies from state to state, it's imperative that you seek counsel from a divorce lawyer licensed in your state.

Social Security Benefits for Divorced Spouses

If you are divorced, whether or not you have remarried, your ex-spouse can receive social security benefits on your record as long as:

  • You are entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits;
  • Your marriage lasted more than 10 years;
  • Your ex-husband or ex-wife is unmarried and is age 62 or older;
  • The benefit your ex-spouse would receive on their own is less than the benefit they would receive based on your work;

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