Texas couples who are divorcing might not realize that they may still be able to draw on their ex-spouse's Social Security benefits. However, the marriage has to have lasted for at least 10 years. Those who are on the verge of divorce might want to consider waiting until after the 10-year mark if they are near it and are amicable enough to negotiate such an arrangement. It could mean significantly more financial security for one of them in the future.
There are other restrictions around the benefit. For example, a who person remarries cannot draw the benefit in most cases. However, if they remarry after the age of 60, the former spouse dies, and the former spouse's benefit is higher than the individual's, that person can claim the benefit. It may also be possible to claim the benefit if both people who remarry are drawing survivor or ex-spouse benefits. People who are divorced and no longer in contact with their ex can contact their Social Security office to find out if they are eligible for benefits. It will be necessary to produce a copy of the marriage certificate and a copy of the divorce decree as well as the Social Security number for the former spouse.
In a high-asset divorce, other issues may be at play. For example, if one spouse owns a business, the other spouse might be able to claim a portion of its value. A court might look at inheritances, investments and other assets to determine what is shared marital property and how it should be split. In some cases, a spouse might try to conceal assets in the form of offshore accounts, hiding bonuses, creating shell companies or in other ways. People who suspect their estranged spouse is not disclosing assets might want to discuss the situation with their attorney.