When a couple is divorcing in Massachusetts, it’s important to understand how their assets will be impacted by the divorce, as well as how their assets and income–including their Social Security benefits–will influence a divorce judgment. Here’s what you should know about how Social Security is handled in a divorce case, how it impacts a divorce settlement, and how getting a divorce may impact your benefit amount–

Social Security Is Not Eligible for Division in a Divorce

The first thing you should know about Social Security benefits is that Social Security is not eligible for division in a divorce, unlike other assets and income, which should be divided between a couple in a way that is equitable. The prohibition on dividing Social Security benefits as part of a divorce settlement is found under federal law. 

Social Security Will Be Considered When Examining a Spouse’s Income

While a court will not divide a Social Security benefit amount among a couple, the amount of cash flow that each spouse receives each month as part of their Social Security benefit will be considered. For example, if one spouse is receiving $1,000 in Social Security benefits each month, the court will consider this as part of the spouse’s income and assets, which could affect a court’s decision when making a determination about how to divide marital property or whether or not an award for spousal support is fair and just. 

Will a Social Security Award Be Impacted By a Divorce?

Couples who are divorcing may be worried about how their ability to draw Social Security benefits will be impacted by the separation, especially if they are claiming benefits on their spouse’s record. If your marriage lasted for at least 10 years, you are unmarried and are at least 62 years of age, and the benefit that you would receive on your own record is less than the benefit you would receive on your ex-spouse’s record, then you can receive Social Security benefits on your ex-spouse’s record. Benefits will continue until you get remarried. 

Note that if you are currently receiving benefits on your spouse’s record and will continue to do so after divorce because you meet the eligibility requirements listed above, including that you have been married for at least 10 years, this is also something the court will consider when thinking about your income and assets and how to fairly divide property or issue an order for spousal maintenance.

Get Help from an Experienced Massachusetts Divorce Lawyer

Navigating things like the division of retirement, disability benefits, Social Security, pension funds, and more in a divorce can be confusing and frustrating. At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our experienced divorce attorney is available to answer your questions about dividing benefits in a divorce, as well as advocate for your best interests throughout the process. Call Attorney Heather M. Ward today at (617) 903-8955 or send our law firm a message online at your convenience.