Ask Larry

Can I File On My Ex's Record after Remarriage?

I am 65, unemployed (laid-off), and have not yet started taking my Social Security. My FRA is 66 (April 2017). My wife is working part-time + (more than 20 hours a week but less than 40). She is 56 and her FRA is 66 years and 10 months. My ex-wife is 63 and has been employed longer than my wife because she took some years off to be a "stay-at-home" Mom. My ex has not yet started her Social Security and I don't know when she plans to. I would ask her but she pretty much hates me. The divorce and subsequent years have not been amicable. I was married to my ex for 13 years and my wife and I have been married 23 years. I hope to be able to hold off starting my SS until I am 70 so my wife will collect more $$$ after I die seeing as a woman lives longer than a man and she is almost 9 years younger than I am. Can I claim spousal benefits on my ex-wife seeing as her SS will be more than my wife's? Is it best that I wait until 70 to start mine? If I claim spousal SS on my ex at what age should I do that? Wait until she is 66 and at her FRA? Any other suggestions? Thanks, Mike

Mike, since you remarried, you cannot claim a divorced spousal benefit based on your first wife's record. You can claim a spousal benefit on your current wife's record but not until she files for her retirement benefit, which she can't do until 62 at the earliest and then her retirement benefit would be permanently reduced. If you file for your retirement benefit now before your FRA, it will be permanently reduced. If you'd like to determine your maximized strategy and also try out different alternative scenarios, including consideration of different levels of future income for you and your wife, you can use our software to do so. Thanks, John

Jul 1 2016 - 11:45am
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