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Divorce and how it affects Social Security benefits

If a person in San Jose divorces someone who has a higher income, they might be able to collect on that ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits. Social Security benefits begin paying out at their full amount when a person retires. Depending on one’s birthdate, retirement age could be somewhere between the ages of 66 and 67. A person may draw on their spouse’s Social Security benefits if their own benefits would be less. The person is eligible to claim up to 50 percent of the full benefit from their ex-spouse. This does not reduce the benefit available to the ex-spouse.

Social Security benefits are calculated based on a person’s work history. A person has the option to begin drawing on their former spouse’s benefits at age 62. However, this benefit will be reduced. Furthermore, if the spouse has not yet begun collecting benefits, it is necessary for at least two years to have passed since the divorce. The person claiming the benefit must also remain unmarried. If they did remarry, that marriage must have come to an end.

There may be other complications to look into before a person decides how they will draw Social Security. For example, they might have to pay tax on the former spouse’s benefits.

Individuals who divorce may be able to claim a portion of other assets that are deemed marital property as well. California is a community property state, so assets acquired after marriage are generally considered marital assets. There may be exceptions such as inheritances or if the couple has a prenuptial agreement. In a high-asset divorce, business ownership, investments, valuable collections, retirement accounts, out-of-state real estate and more may all need to be divided. There may be tax implications for some retirement accounts and other assets.