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Know the facts about divorce and Social Security benefits

When a couple is married, benefits are split and shared in one way or another. Once a divorce unfolds, naturally, finances become separate and so do many benefits which were once shared. Even though wages become separate, many people may be unaware of how Social Security benefits work after a divorce and what rights an ex-spouse may have regarding Social Security payments in Missouri.

The timing of the divorce makes all the difference in how Social Security benefits may or may not be split. If the marriage lasts for more than 10 years, an ex-spouse may claim a portion of that Social Security benefit. If the marriage lasts for less than 10 years or the 10 years of marriage is not consecutive, then an ex-spouse will not qualify for spousal benefits.

There are also benefits related to being a widow or widower. It is important to understand that widow or widower benefits are only applicable if the spouses are married at the time of death of one of the spouses. Also, the marriage must have lasted more than nine months. Divorce disqualifies a person from this benefit.

Divorce can be complicated as both lives are split and complex financial issues are sorted through by each party. Counting on benefits or support may be necessary for spouses after they split. However, any Missouri spouse in the process of a divorce or just after a divorce should understand for what benefits he or she actually qualifies and exactly how long a marriage must have lasted in order to qualify for any of those benefits.

Source: foxbusiness.com, "Social Security & Divorce: Timing IS Everything!", Gail Buckner, Jan. 11, 2016

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