If you were married to a higher-earning spouse for decades, and then you endured a brief but unsuccessful marriage to someone else, one consolation is that at least you haven't permanently lost your Social Security benefits from the first marriage partnership.
You cannot take benefits on an ex-spouse's record while you are married to someone else. But if you remarry and then you divorce again, after two years you are eligible to apply for benefits from the prior spouse again.
Betty Perrin (not her real name) had more than one ex and was able to maximize her benefits. Her second husband, Tom, passed away while she was married to her third husband, Walter. Even though Walter made a higher income, much of it was not subject to Social Security taxes. Betty received a higher benefit under Tom's record, which illustrates how important it is to check out all the alternatives before you decide whose benefit record to use.