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Collecting retirement benefits based on a former spouse

An ex-spouse in Texas may still have access to some benefits after a divorce through Social Security, and a former partner could receive retirement benefits when meeting certain requirements. Generally, an ex-spouse may not collect benefits while married to someone else. However, one can qualify for benefits from a former partner's record even if the partner has remarried.

One may be eligible for benefits if a marriage lasted 10 years or more, the person seeking benefits is 62 years old or older and the party is entitled to retirement or disability benefits through Social Security. A former spouse could receive benefits even if the other party did not apply for them as long as the other party is eligible for benefits and the couple has been divorce for two or more years.

If both people are entitled to benefits, a person receives benefits based on his or her own work record first. However, one may be still be entitled to benefits from an ex-spouse if the spouse's record is higher. If this is the case, the person with the lower record receives a combination of benefits.

A divorced person may wish to receive benefits based on a former spouse's record because this might allow the individual to delay his or her retirement benefits when applying online. Delayed retirement benefits could result in more retirement credits in the future.

While the benefits a former spouse receives based off one's record does not influence one's own benefits, dividing property in a divorce can have financial consequences. A high asset divorce can be complicated because each party may be entitled to part of property, a business, stocks or a 401k plan. One may wish to consult with an attorney to ensure that assets are fairly divided.

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