Can My Friend Still Get Divorced Spousal Benefits If She Remarried Her Ex And The Remarriage Only Lasted 2 Years?

Aug 28 2018 - 9:53am

I am asking for a friend. She is age 68. Wife was previously married to "Bob" for over 10 years. Bob and wife divorced and remarried but now two years later are getting a divorce. Can she still get Bob's social security based on their prior 10 +year marriage or will she lose Bob's social security because her second marriage to him was for only 2 years?

Hi,

Yes, it sounds like your friend would meet the duration of marriage requirement for divorced spousal benefits on 'Bob's' record. As long as a person's marriage lasts for at least 10 consecutive years prior to a divorce, they would meet the marriage duration requirement for divorced spousal benefits regardless of any subsequent marriage or remarriage. The subsequent marriage would have to end in order for the person to actually qualify for divorced spousal benefits, though. However, if a person who qualifies for divorced spousal benefits remarries their ex-spouse, they could potentially qualify for spousal benefits instead. And, regardless of how long their second marriage lasts, they could again potentially qualify for divorced spousal benefits based on their original 10+ year marriage if their remarriage ends in divorce.

By the way, their is a quirky Social Security rule that can be applied when calculating the duration of a marriage for people who have divorced and remarried the same person. If such a couple's remarriage occurs no later than the end of the calendar year immediately following the year of their divorce, the divorce is effectively discounted when calculating the length of their marriage.

For example, say Bob and Sally got married on July 1 1985. They subsequently divorce and their divorce is final on January 1 1990. Bob & Sally then remarry on December 31 1991, but again divorce on July 1 1995. In this example, Bob & Sally would meet the 10 year duration of marriage requirement for divorced spousal benefits. Since their remarriage occurred in the calendar year following the year of their first divorce, no break in marriage would be counted when calculating the length of their marriage for divorced spousal benefit purposes (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0300202005).

Best, Jerry