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What Documentation Does Social Security Use To Determine When A Marriage Ended In Divorce?

This question concerns the 10 year marriage requirement for an ex-spouse to receive benefits. If a divorce agreement was signed by both parties in year nine of marriage, but the divorce was never recorded with the court or certified by a judge, did the marriage technically end in divorce? Both filed taxes as single after year nine, and neither remarried. What documentation does Social Security use to determine when or if the marriage ended in divorce?

Hi. In virtually all cases, Social Security requires a divorce decree. The only date that counts is the date that a divorce that the divorce was final. If there is a full 10 year period between the date of marriage and the date the divorce is final, then the divorced couple would meet the duration of marriage requirement for divorced spousal and survivor benefits.

I'm not a lawyer, but I don't know how a divorce could be legal unless there is a divorce decree signed by a judge. In the scenario you describe, it sounds to me like the members of the couple would remain legally married.

Best, Jerry

Jul 26 2021 - 7:25pm
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