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If you decide to undergo a divorce with your spouse, you will undoubtedly have to divide your assets based on New Jersey’s equitable distribution laws. Included in the division of assets may be your Social Security benefits. And this may be a cause of concern for you if you are close to retirement or already retired. Read on to discover whether you will be entitled to a portion of your former spouse’s Social Security benefits and how a seasoned division of assets attorney in Hackensack, New Jersey at McNerney & McAuliffe can work to protect your benefits.

Do I qualify for my former spouse’s Social Security benefits?

In the state of New Jersey, you may be more qualified to receive your former spouse’s Social Security benefits if you meet any or all of the following requirements:

  • If you and your former spouse were married for at least 10 years.
  • If you are at least 62 years of age.
  • If you have not yet remarried.
  • If your former’s spouse’s Social Security benefits are greater than your own.

It is important to note that your former spouse will not receive a lesser amount of Social Security benefits just because you may still qualify for them, and vice versa. However, your former spouse may receive a lesser amount if any or all of the following are true:

  • Your former spouse earns too much money from regular wages.
  • Your former spouse earns too much from separate retirement distributions.
  • Your former spouse owes your alimony or child support payments.

How can my divorce impact my Social Security benefits?

It is also important to note that you do not have to solely rely on your former spouse for Social Security benefits. That is, you can receive your own benefits while still qualifying for theirs. With that being said, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will take the following approach when determining your benefits:

  1. The SSA will look at your and your former spouse’s work history and determine which would grant you the higher benefit amount.
  2. If the SSA determines that you would receive a higher benefit amount with your former spouse’s plan, then they will give you your own benefit amount first.
  3. After giving you your own benefit amount first, the SSA will pay you the difference with your former spouse’s plan.

Another thing is that you can receive your payments even before your former spouse draws their Social Security benefits. This is so long as you meet any or all of the following requirements.

  • You have waited at least two consecutive years before requesting payments.
  • You and your former spouse have remained divorced for at least two consecutive years.
  • Under certain circumstances, if you decide to remarry.

If you require assistance with applying for these benefits, then you must retain the services of a competent Bergen County family law attorney today.

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