Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.

Joliet Office


Plainfield Office


How Does Divorce Impact Social Security Benefits? 

Posted on

Joliet Divorce Lawyer

There are countless issues to consider when it comes to divorce, and many of these concerns involve finances. Divorcing spouses understandably worry about how the divorce will impact their financial futures. One of the most important issues to consider is how divorce affects one’s Social Security benefits.

Can I Get Social Security Through My Ex-Spouse?

Under certain circumstances, divorced spouses may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on their former spouse’s earning record. If the marriage lasted at least ten years, a divorced spouse can claim up to half of the ex-spouse’s benefit amount if it is higher than his or her own earned benefit. To get this benefit, the divorced spouse must be unmarried and 62 years old or older.

If a divorced spouse was not employed, or did not work long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits, he or she may still be able to claim benefits on their former spouse’s record.

What Happens To My Benefit Amount After Divorce?

Divorce does not necessarily reduce one’s Social Security benefit amount after retirement. If a person worked for at least 10 years under Social Security and earns enough credits to qualify for benefits, he or she is generally eligible to receive the full amount he or she would have received if he or she had remained married.

It is important to note that a divorced spouse cannot collect both his or her own earned benefit and the benefit from an ex-spouse at the same time. A person must choose which benefit pays the highest amount and then apply for it.

Other Retirement Concerns to Be Aware of During Divorce

If you or your spouse own other retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), make sure you understand how these funds are handled during divorce. In Illinois, any income a spouse earns during the marriage is part of the marital estate. So, if a spouse accumulates money in a retirement account during the marriage, both parties have a right to this property.

In many cases, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is used to divide retirement assets during divorce. A QDRO allocates portions of the account to both parties without incurring any early withdrawal or tax penalties. It is important to note that a QDRO does not impact Social Security benefits in any way, as these accounts are managed separately.

Contact our Joliet Divorce Lawyer

Divorce can be a difficult life transition, and it is crucial to understand the financial implications of this process. If you are considering divorce or have any questions regarding Social Security benefits and divorce, consult with an experienced Plainfield divorce attorney from Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. who can help you understand your rights and make sure your interests are protected. Call 815-666-1285 for a free initial case assessment.




  • Badges and Associations
  • Badges and Associations
Back to Top