With the recent rise of gray divorce, which is apparently steadily growing in couples older than 50, retirement plans may be on some people’s minds. Georgia individuals may have based their later-in-life plans on funds or benefits that their spouse earned during the course of the marriage. Should that marriage ultimately end in divorce, they may still be eligible to receive some of those benefits.
At the time of request, being married to a former spouse isn't necessarily required to collect spousal or survivor benefits, although there are guidelines stipulating how and when they can be paid out. Providing that the marriage lasted 10 years, an ex can file for Social Security benefits once both parties have reached the age of 62. Remarrying and then divorcing does not affect their ability to receive their ex’s benefits as long as the individual remarried after the age of 60 and is unmarried at the time of the request. However, the spouse who earned the Social Security benefits may be remarried without consequence to their ex.
Furthermore, survivor benefits may also be collected by an ex-spouse. As with Social Security benefits, the marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years. The party seeking the benefits must be at least 60 years old, and may be either unmarried or remarried without affecting their ability to receive the anything. This is also accomplished without any affect to other survivors’ benefits.
After a gray divorce or even a divorce that occurs at a much younger age, concern surrounding benefits that may be crucial to the financial health of an individual may be a concern for some Georgia individuals. However, it is possible to still receive these benefits even after a couple has split, and it is likely that an ex may not even be aware that their former spouse is receiving anything at all. Additionally, a divorce settlement can’t strictly bar an ex-spouse from seeking either Social Security or survivor benefits if they have met and adhered to the proper guidelines.
Source: etftrends.com, "Can You Collect on Your Ex? Social Security Eligibility After Divorce", Rob Kron, July 15, 2014