Those individuals who have reached retirement age, and who paid into Social Security throughout their working years, are entitled to Social Security retirement benefits. In the event that an individual who is a recipient of Social Security benefits gets a divorce, questions about whether or not these Social Security retirement benefits will be considered in a spousal support (alimony) payment arise.

A Spousal Support Order and Social Security

The amount of a spousal support or maintenance order is based on some factors, including the financially independent’s spouse gross income. However, according to Texas Family Code, Chapter 8 – Maintenance, Section 8.005 (c), gross income does not include “supplemental security income (SSI), social security benefits, and disability benefits.”

In other words, a court cannot consider Social Security retirement benefits when determining an alimony amount (although other retirement benefits, such as benefits paid from a pension, can be considered).

Outside of gross income, other factors that a court may consider when determining a spousal maintenance amount include the following.

  • Each spouse’s ability to provide for themselves
  • Education
  • Employment history
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Age and employment history of the spouse seeking maintenance


Read about events that could cause you to lose alimony.

Recovering Social Security from Your Spouse’s Record

While a court cannot consider a Social Security retirement amount when determining an alimony amount, a person may be able to recover Social Security benefits on their divorced spouse’s record. To qualify for spousal benefits under your divorced spouse’s record, you must have been married for at least ten years.

Furthermore, you must be age 62 or older, must be currently unmarried yourself, and the benefit amount that you would receive from your ex-spouse’s record must be more than the benefit amount you would receive based on your own Social Security record. Of course, your ex-spouse must also be eligible to recover Social Security retirement (or disability) benefits. 

Learn More About Spousal Maintenance and Retirement Benefits

When two people divorce, one spouse often needs spousal support payments to maintain their standard of living or to support him or herself. While spousal support/spousal maintenance payments can help, an individual may also be able to recover Social Security retirement benefits off of their ex-spouse’s record. To learn more about both, consult with a divorce and family law lawyer today.

An attorney can help you demonstrate to the court why you need a maintenance order, and can guide you through the process of claiming Social Security retirement benefits under your ex-spouse’s record. To learn more, call The Texas Divorce Lawyer now 214-265-7630. Alternatively, you can fill out our easy online contact form.