Some things you may want to contemplate before you proceed with a divorce in California.
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Besides love and companionship you will experience, there are many marriage benefits that spouses do not consider or realize.
Your Spouse’s Social Security
One of the many marriage benefits is that even if you have never worked, you may be able to receive your spouse’s retirement benefits if you are at least 62 years of age and your spouse or ex-spouse is receiving or is eligible for retirement or disability benefits. You can also qualify for Medicare at age 65.
Social Security for Your Children
Marriage benefits include benefits your children may receive. When you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, your children may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. Your eligible child can be your biological child, adopted child or stepchild. A dependent grandchild may also qualify if they are:
- Unmarried; and
- Under age 18; or
- 18-19 years old and a full-time high school student; or
- 18 or older and are disabled from a disability that started before age 22.
Long Term Marriage Benefits
If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive social security on your ex-spouse’s record. You can receive these benefits even if your spouse has remarried as long as you are unmarried, are 62 years of age or older, and the benefit you are entitled to receive is based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
If you remarry, you generally cannot collect benefits on your former spouse’s record unless your later marriage ends (whether by death, divorce or annulment).
If your ex-spouse can qualify but has not applied for retirement benefits you can receive benefits on their record if you have been divorced for at least two years.
Your Spouse’s Military Benefits
Military benefits are by far some of the most important and significant marriage benefits a former spouse could receive. As an un-remarried former spouse of a military member, you are entitled to receive medical, commissary, exchange and theater privileges if:
- You were married to the military member for at least 20 years at the time of the divorce, dissolution or annulment;
- The military member has performed at least 20 years of service that is creditable in determining eligibility for retired pay;
- You were married to the military member during at least 20 years of the member’s retirement-creditable service.
You are also eligible to receive military benefits if you were married for at least 20 years, your former spouse performed at least 20 years of service creditable for retired pay and there was at least a 15-year overlap of the marriage and the military service (but less than a 20-year overlap), you are entitled to full commissary, exchange and health care benefits for one year from the date of the divorce, dissolution or annulment. After this transition year of health coverage, you may purchase a negotiated conversion health policy.
Military Benefits for Children
The biological and adopted children of the service member remain eligible for TRICARE up to the age 21 (up to age 23 if they are enrolled in college) as long as the child remains a dependent child of the service member. Stepchildren who were not adopted by the service member lose their TRICARE eligibility but may be eligible to purchase coverage under the Continued Health Care Benefit Program.
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