I have been married and divorced to the same person twice. Does the SSA require that the ten years be consecutive?

Published: June 24, 2021

Hi there,

The short answer is “yes, sort of!”

The “consecutive” part means that the two time periods of the marriages must be in existence in each of the 10 or more consecutive years. Therefore, the second marriage must start within the 12 months after the first divorce.

Social Security does require that two people be married for at least 10 years for one to collect ex-spousal benefits on the other’s earnings record. But they don’t necessarily have to be married for 10 years continuously. It depends on when the first divorce and the second wedding occur.

Under Social Security rules, you meet the length-of-marriage test if your (second) divorce became final on or after the 10th anniversary of the first marriage. This is true even if a prior divorce interrupted this period, provided the remarriage took place no later than the calendar year immediately following the year of the (first) divorce.

Warm regards,
Martha

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