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Collecting Social Security from an ex-spouse after divorce

Many separating spouses may assume that they will not be entitled to some of their ex's benefits -- such as Social Security -- upon divorce. However, that assumption is not always true. Some Colorado spousal or survivor benefit packages are based on one spouse's earnings history, meaning that the other spouse may be able to reap those benefits even after divorce.

It is true that the intricacies of Social Security can be very complex, so every person's case could be different. However, the main guideline for being able to collect Social Security benefits from an ex spouse's earnings history is that the marriage lasted at least 10 years. Additionally, if a person has been married more than once, as long as each of the marriages lasted at least 10 years, then that person would be entitled to the most beneficial of the benefits.

Furthermore, a spouse can still receive Social Security benefits from an ex-spouse's earnings history even if that person remarried. That person may have multiple ex-spouses collecting benefits at a time as long as the marriages lasted 10 years. The ex-spouse may not even realize, and that person's own benefits will not be altered in any way by another person also collecting off of them.

For persons who have undergone a divorce in Colorado but are now thinking about retirement, many options like Social Security benefits still exist. Divorce can be a tricky and stressful road to navigate, and many important details could be left out if a person chooses to travel this road alone. Luckily, help is always available in Colorado for those who seek it. This help could prevent a person from overlooking a potential benefit.

Source: Forbes, "Getting Social Security Benefits After Divorce", John Wasik, July 21, 2014

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