Divorce and Social Security in 10 + year marriages

In meeting with divorcing Oregonians, I get a lot of questions about social security benefits as part of divorce.  Many people don’t know, but if you have been married for at least ten years with your “soon to be ex” your spousee can recieve benfits based on your social security record (even if you have remarried) if:


  1. You were married at least 10 years
  2. Your ex is unmarried
  3. Your ex is 62 or older
  4. Your ex is entitled to receive less benefits from their own work history v.s yours.
  5. You are entitled to benefits.

Divorcing couples seeking a cooperative resolution who have been married 9, but not quite 10 years may wish to delay finalization so that the lower earning spouse can be entitled to the maximum benefits.



About Sean Stephens

By Sean Stephens Google + Sean Stephens is divorce and family law lawyer, and a founding member of Stephens & Margolin LLP He was born in Eugene, Oregon and is a fourth generation Oregonian. Sean Stephens attended the University of Oregon, and graduated in with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a minor in English Literature. His psychology studies emphasized early childhood development. You can find more about Sean Stephens at Stephens & Margolin LLP Follow him
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2 Responses to Divorce and Social Security in 10 + year marriages

  1. Matt Geragos says:

    I just learned about this law related to Social Security benefits. Interestingly enough, the law even applies if your spouse passes away. Sadly, my wife passed away a few years back but I am sure she was smiling down from heaven on me as I learned from the Social Security Administrator that explained my benefits to me when I retire. It turns out I am entitled to her social security benefits because we were married for 22 years.

  2. This is very interesting stuff – thanks for sharing this with the rest of us Sean.

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