How Is The 10-Year Marriage Requirement Calculated?

Aug 13 2016 - 11:15am

Dear Larry,

Could you clarify how the 10 year marriage rule to be eligible for ex-spousal benefits is determined by Social Security:
1. From date of marriage to date of final divorce. OR
2. Year of marriage to Year of final divorce.

Thank you for your help.

Hi,

In order to meet the 10-year duration of marriage requirement for divorced spousal benefits, the divorce must become final no earlier than the 10th anniversary of the marriage, to the day. This 10-year period can be interrupted by a divorce, if the couple remarries no later than the calendar year following the year of the divorce.

For example, Jack and Jill marry on July 1 1995. They divorce in 2000 & remarry in 2001. Then, they divorce again and the divorce is final on July 1 2005. Jack & Jill meet the 10-year duration of marriage requirement for divorced spousal benefits. Naturally, they would also have met the requirement without the intervening divorce and remarriage. Had their divorce become final on June 30 2005 or earlier, however, the requirement would not be met.

Best, Jerry