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How your ex's Social Security benefits can be key following divorce

The following subject matter might be of particular utility and interest to a select portion of our Illinois blog audience that is nearing or has just entered retirement age.

Specifically, if you are an individual within that demographic who is also divorced or presently contemplating ending your marriage, the information that follows might be quite relevant to you.

It pertains squarely to post-divorce benefits, a topic that understandably does grab the attention of most would-be and already divorced parties. Legions of so-called baby boomer constituents divorced after decades of marriage and yet still look forward to a new start thereafter and many more years of good health and new adventures.

Obviously, they need sufficient assets and income flow to realize that hope, which is a central fact underscoring why an equitable distribution of marital wealth is so important for legions of older divorcing couples.

Social Security can play a role in that. As one money-focused publication recently notes, many divorced individuals are eligible to claim benefits based on the work history of their ex-spouse.

It can make strong sense to do that, and applicable law expressly provides for it in cases where applicants can clear eligibility thresholds.

For starters, your marriage must have endured for at least a decade. Moreover, you cannot file for benefits if you subsequently remarried. And, you must be at least 62 to claim (certain exceptions apply).

This is a federal entitlement, so a few other twists and turns might also need to be considered in a given case. An experienced divorce attorney with a demonstrated history of client advocacy in property division matters and related entitlements can provide further information.

Social Security claims on ex-spouse benefits are not for everyone. They can make great sense, though, for parties who are eligible to receive a higher benefit through claiming on a former partner's prior work history.

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