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After divorce, individuals can get ex's Social Security benefits

Whether a couple divorces after two years or 20, determining what assets either party will be privy to years down the road may appear overwhelming at first. For instance, who gets what retirement benefits, and how much? Even Social Security benefits can be up in the air following a Massachusetts divorce.

It is possible to receive certain benefits that an ex-spouse earned during the course of the marriage. However, stipulations apply to some of those benefits, such as Social Security. In order to even claim Social Security benefits from an ex, the couple had to be married for 10 years before divorcing. Otherwise, an individual might have no claim whatsoever.

Additionally, if individuals enter into a second marriage, they may forfeit their claim to those benefits from the first marriage. However, there are two exceptions that would still allow a remarried individual to apply and receive Social Security from an ex-spouse. The first exception applies to those who get remarried after turning 60 years old. The second is for those who have remarried, but then divorced again.

Retirement accounts and Social Security earned during the course of a marriage are generally intended to care for both parties later on in life. For whatever reason, when a Massachusetts marriage ends in divorce, one individual may feel as though they've been cut off from vital financial assets that they were counting on. Providing that the marriage lasted the required 10 years and that the individual as not remarried at the time that they request Social Security benefits from a former spouse, they can access those funds that were originally earned at least in part for their use.

Source:, "Social Security: What Happens to Spousal Benefits If You're Divorced but Remarried?", John Maxfield, July 13, 2014

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