Divorce and Social Security Benefits

Nashville Attorneys Experienced in Family Law Matters

Divorce often raises many questions regarding custody arrangements when children are involved, as well as alimony and property distribution issues. The impact that divorce may have on Social Security benefits may also be important, depending on each spouse’s eligibility and the length of their marriage. The Nashville divorce lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard can offer knowledgeable and seasoned legal guidance regarding any matters that arise before or during divorce proceedings.

Social Security Benefits in Divorce

The Social Security Administration sets certain requirements regarding spousal entitlement to Social Security benefits upon a divorce. In order to collect benefits based on a former spouse’s work record, certain criteria need to be met, including:

  • The couple must have been married for at least 10 years;
  • The individual seeking benefits must be at least 62 years old;
  • The individual must not be remarried; and
  • The ex-spouse needs to be entitled to Social Security Disability, or retirement, benefits.

However, these requirements do not apply to an individual with a work record that entitles them to greater benefits than those awarded to a former spouse. Additionally, a former spouse’s remarriage does not affect an individual’s entitlement to benefits. The benefits available to a divorced spouse include one-half of the ex-spouse’s full retirement or disability amount, if the benefits begin at the individual’s full retirement age. However, benefits will not include any delayed retirement credits earned by the former spouse. If a former spouse has not applied for retirement benefits, despite qualifying, an individual may still receive benefits based on their work record if the couple has been divorced for at least two years.

Having access to Social Security benefits, whether in the form of disability or retirement, may be important, especially in late-life divorces, since people often rely on that financial aid in planning their future. Because of the complicated nature of determining, applying for, and distributing retirement or disability benefits, consulting a knowledgeable attorney may be essential in ensuring that the requirements and rules are being followed.

Seek Guidance from a Divorce Lawyer in the Nashville Area

Being married for a decade or more means that each spouse has probably made certain sacrifices for the other and relies on the other in many different areas of their lives. Making sure that a divorce does not affect the Social Security benefits that each spouse has earned in their own way is important to protecting each individual’s future. The Nashville divorce attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard are dedicated to making sure that their clients know their legal options and rights when contemplating a divorce. Our firm assists people throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, including in Franklin, Bellevue, East Nashville, and Sylvan Park, as well as other areas of Tennessee. If you are going through or considering initiating divorce proceedings, call us at 615-800-7096 or contact us online to set up a free initial consultation with a property division attorney and learn more about this process. Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard is ready to provide the thoughtful advice and resourceful advocacy that you need to protect your interests.