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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Texas: Marriage dissolution and Social Security

Some Texas couples may be wondering how divorce can affect their financial future. Many people are familiar with financial concerns of marriage dissolution such as property and debt, but may forget about how divorce factors into the distribution of their Social Security. Divorce impacts Social Security benefits in a few ways. 

For older folks, divorce can have its advantages. When a surviving ex-spouse waits until age 60 or later to get remarried, they preserve the right to collect Social Security benefits of their spouse when that person dies. Receiving Social Security checks at 60 years of age after the death of a spouse is called the widower's benefit. 

If a person was divorced after 10 years of marriage, that person is eligible for a portion of the spouse's benefits if he or she is unmarried at the time that he or she becomes eligible for benefits and if the other spouse earned more. A person who remarries is also eligible to receive the new partner's Social Security benefit if the spouse dies before him or her as well. If a person starts to collect Social Security, and decides that he or she made the wrong choice, there is a 12 month period in which one can repay the monies received and wipe the slate clean.

The rules and regulations of Social Security can be daunting. Older couples in Texas who are considering marriage dissolution may find that navigating the process is much easier with the help of an experienced attorney. After retirement, people must know exactly where and how they will be receiving income so that they can plan for the future. A family law lawyer could be a valuable resource for couples who want to fully understand how divorce could affect their retirement income. 

Source:, "4 Ways Marriage, Divorce Can Increase Your Social Security Check", Tony Perrone, May 2, 2017

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