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Attorneys Handling Cases of Social Security Benefits After Divorce in San Diego


What Happens to Your Social Security Benefits in Divorce?

Monthly payments from Social Security provide income to people throughout their years of retirement. In divorce in California, the value of retirement accounts will be divided between the two former spouses, such as IRAs, 401(k)s, and other retirement accounts. Social security benefits are treated differently in divorce, and there is no procedure for dividing these benefits. The amount paid to each party through Social Security, however, is looked at as source of income in a divorce.

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Social Security Benefits and Your Spouse’s Work Record

Your former spouse’s work record could allow you to continue to collect the Social Security benefits you have received each month, based on your mutual work record. The criteria for continuing to receive the benefits at the same level include that you were married for 10 years or longer, you have reached full retirement age, and whether your former spouse is eligible to receive Social Security benefits. If you are in the position receiving less in Social Security benefits based on your own work history, you may be eligible for this change. Your former spouse will not be informed, and this will not impact the amount he or she received, so there is no risk.

If you could receive a reduced amount in Social Security benefits and meet the criteria, you likely need help to ensure your benefits are not reduced. Your divorce attorney can guide you, and determine whether you meet the eligibility requirements, and help you pursue the Social Security benefits you are entitled to under the law.

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Deceased Former Spouse and Social Security Benefits

If you are divorced, and your former spouse passed away, it could impact the amount you receive in Social Security benefits. In these cases, you may be able to claim benefits based on your former spouse’s employment history. These benefits may be due to you, even if you remarried after age 60.

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Calculating Social Security Benefits After a Divorce

Social Security benefits are paid through a federal program, with the benefits based on the employment record of the recipient. Most people pay into this program throughout their working lives. The program allows you to combine a married couple’s work records when claiming benefits. After a divorce, you may be eligible to continue to receive the benefit payments you had before the divorce if you meet the eligibility criteria:

  • You were married for at least 10 years.
  • You are not currently remarried.
  • If you remarried after your divorce, your spouse died, or you got divorced.
  • You must be at least 62 years old.
  • The benefits you receive on your own are lower than you received during your marriage.

If you have reached retirement age and meet the eligibility criteria outlined by the agency, you have the right to collect fifty percent of the benefits your former spouse was entitled to receive. If your former spouse passes away, you may be able to collect survivor’s benefits related to their Social Security account. The criteria in these cases include:

  • You are caring for the former spouse’ child (biological or adopted)
  • The child is aged 16 or younger or is disabled.

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How a San Diego Family Law Attorney Can Assist You With Social Security Benefits

A divorce is never a pleasant event, and property division is one of the most important issues, particularly in marriages of long duration. You have paid into the Social Security system throughout your years of employment and have the right to receive the benefits you deserve under the program. If a divorce means you will receive less in benefits, at Mattis Law, A.P.C., you can get help with every issue related to property division, as well as the Social Security benefits to which you are entitled.

For a free consultation regarding divorce, property division, and issues regarding Social Security benefits after divorce, contact Mattis Law, A.P.C. at (858) 328-4400.

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(858) 328-4400

Mattis Law, A.P.C.
7730 Herschel Avenue, Suite N
La Jolla, California 92037
Office: (858) 328-4400
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Our Firm Services The Following California Areas:
San Diego, La Jolla, Del Mar, Carmel Valley, Rancho Santa Fe, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Pacific Beach, and Mission Beach.

Mattis Law, A.P.C. is a San Diego, California firm practicing exclusively in the area of domestic relations law. We handle a wide range of matters including divorce, child custody, and child support. Whatever your situation we can be of assistance. Feel free to contact us today.

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