California residents may take steps to forget about their divorce and move on with their lives. However, it may be possible to collect Social Security benefits based on the work record that a person has with a former spouse. Collecting such benefits may make it easier to live comfortably in retirement or at least make it easier to make ends meet as a person ages.

It is important to note that not everyone is entitled to collect benefits based on a spouse’s work record. One requirement is that the marriage must have lasted for 10 years or longer. Furthermore, an individual is generally only eligible for benefits based on a former spouse’s work record if he or she doesn’t remarry. However, if a subsequent marriage ends, it may be possible to once again claim benefits based on the first spouse’s work record.

Former spouses may be able to start collecting benefits even if the other spouse has not yet done so. However, the other spouse needs to be eligible to collect his or her benefits before an individual claims them based on that person’s work record. To begin collecting benefits, the divorce must have occurred at least two years prior to the filing date. Individuals may be able to collect benefits based on a former spouse’s work record even if that person remarries.

As part of a divorce, it may be necessary to divide marital property. During the property division process, it may be possible to learn more about the value of retirement accounts or other benefits that a former spouse may be entitled to. Depending on how long a marriage lasted, a lower-earning spouse might obtain a portion of benefits to help maintain a reasonable lifestyle.