Stay married for a full ten years

If you’re considering or in the process of divorce, and you’re just shy of your 10th wedding anniversary, you might want to wait a bit and use the time to brush up on all things Social Security before you make the break official.

For people planning on divorcing around the 10-year mark of a marriage, waiting a few months may result in higher Social Security payments if their spouses’ earnings records are higher than their own.

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), if you are divorced, your ex-spouse can receive benefits based on your record (even if you have remarried) if:

  • Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer;
  • Your ex-spouse is unmarried;
  • Your ex-spouse is age 62 or older;
  • The benefit that your ex-spouse is entitled to receive based on his or her own work is less than the benefit he or she would receive based on your work; and
  • You are entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.