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How to claim Social Security benefits on an ex-spouse's earnings

Some couples in Oklahoma might want to postpone an impending divorce if they are nearing the ten-year mark in their marriage. The reason is that after ten years of marriage, at retirement, a spouse might be able to draw payments on the former spouse's Social Security benefits.

A person who has been married more than once for ten years each time may be able to decide upon which ex-spouse's benefits they will draw, depending on which of the former spouses has the higher amount of benefits. However, if the spouse is still alive, the person's own benefit must be less half that of their former spouse. If the spouse is deceased, then the person's benefit only needs to be less than their ex-spouse's by any amount.

While people who remarry usually forfeit their ability to claim on a former spouse's Social Security benefits, there is an exception if the person marries after the age of 60, the ex-spouse is deceased and the late ex-spouse's benefit is larger. There might also be an exception if the person marries someone who is also claiming a survivor or ex-spouse benefit. People may want to check with their Social Security office if they are unsure whether they are eligible for benefits from their ex-spouse.

In a high-asset divorce, there may be other benefits of which a person may not be aware. In fact, in some divorces, a person might not disclose some of their assets and might even attempt to hide them. A divorcing spouse who suspects this is the case may want to discuss it with an attorney. Property division may also become complex if one person owns a business. The other person might be able to claim a portion of the business particularly if a judge feels they contributed to the success of the business in any way.

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