Picture of two wedding bands

There are few things more painful than divorce and the lengthy, exhausting legal process that comes along with it. But fortunately for you, you’ve found another love and you’re ready to get remarried. Congratulations!

While getting remarried often comes with many emotional and financial gains, you may have questions about legal ramifications — chiefly when it comes to your current Social Security benefits.

These benefits often make it possible for ex-spouses to continue living comfortably, even without the financial assistance of a partner. How will getting remarried change that picture?

Here are two ways your benefits could change after your upcoming nuptials:

Divorced Spouse Benefits

It’s fairly common knowledge that spouses are entitled to collect Social Security benefits based on their partners’ work records. As a married individual, you have the choice of claiming a retirement benefit based on your own earnings record or collecting a spousal benefit equal to half of your spouse’s benefit.

You are automatically entitled to the higher benefit, and can collect on your spouse’s record even if you’ve never paid into Social Security yourself. In the event of divorce, you can still collect benefits on your ex-spouse’s record, even if your ex-spouse has remarried and their new spouse is collecting on the same record.

However, in order to maintain this benefit, you must meet a few requirements, including:

  • You were married for 10 consecutive years or more
  • You are at least 62 years old
  • Your ex-spouse is currently eligible for retirement benefits

And, perhaps most important, you must be unmarried.

Once you remarry, you won’t be able to receive benefits on your former spouse’s record unless your new marriage ends by divorce, annulment, or death.

Survivors Benefits

If you are the divorced spouse of a worker who passed away, you may still be eligible for survivors benefits if your marriage lasted for 10 consecutive years or more. These benefits kick in when you turn 60 and reach their maximum potential when you hit retirement age.

Survivors benefits are equivalent to your deceased ex-spouse’s full Social Security allotment. However, if you remarry, your benefits may change — depending on your age and your new spouse’s benefits.

If you remarry before you turn 60, you won’t be able to collect survivors benefits unless your new marriage ends. If you remarry after you turn 60, you can still receive survivors benefits unless your new spouse is eligible for retirement benefits and you would receive a higher amount based on his/her work record.

It’s also important to note that any benefits you receive from your ex-spouse’s work record for your minor children will end after you remarry. That includes benefits received for students ages 18 and 19. 

Whether you currently receive divorced spouse benefits, benefits for your children, or survivors benefits from your ex-spouse, fear over losing potential income is no reason to avoid remarriage. Instead, speak to an expert in family law for assistance in exploring your options.

Contact a Family Law Attorney to Learn More

There’s something wonderful about the fresh start and happiness a remarriage can offer — but there are also important financial and legal ramifications to consider. To get educated about the impact remarriage may have on your Social Security benefits, contact Carolan Family Law Fim, P.A. in Coral Gables by calling 305-358-2330.

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