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Can my ex wife after 20+ years after the divorce go after my retirement and social security?

Columbia, SC |

My ex wife has MS and is in the hospital and her mother wants to put her in a nursing home. She wants the dates we married and divorced stating the nursing home needs a time line on her daughter. During the marriage I did not build up any retirement. Also, my ex wife was married after our divorce for 17 years and her husband died. I am currently drawing retiment from a job that I built up during my present marrage and will be drawing social security at the end of this year.

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Attorney answers 3


You must consult with a lawyer in SC for a proper answer, but generally, and without any fraud or misrepresentation regarding your pension rights at the time of the divorce, your ex cannot get any of your pension benefits unless your divorce papers specifically award her a portion.

Your question does not reveal how long you were married or how long you have been divorced, but the likelihood is that she will not share in your pension benefits. You would have been notified by the plan trustee by now if she was receiving anything.

As to social security, call or visit your local government office. They are very helpful and will answer your question on the spot. If your ex was married to you for 10 plus years, she would normally be entitled to a social security benefit of up to 50% of what you receive (and this may not come out of your share). However, she did remarry and this likely affects her right to collect under your social security.


You should review the specifics and timeline with a local attorney, but generally unless the pension benefit was something earned during your marriage it is not an asset to which she has an entitlement.


The other attorneys addressed retirement benefit issues. Disability benefits are also a possibility.

Your wife may be eligible for disability benefits based upon your earnings record; however, there are numerous factors to be considered, most of which are not addressed at all in your initial inquiry (your age, her age, length of marriage, her work, her late hhusband's work, etc.).

None the less, if she is eligible based upon your record, there would be no impact on any benefits you receive. You wouldn't even necessarily know.