Dear Senior Living Adviser,
I’m 72, retired and married to my wife of 35 years. She’s 68 years old. We both collect Social Security benefits.
My monthly benefit is $1,500. Hers is $1,100. Would we collect more if we divorce? We cannot afford our mortgage after our savings runs out in the next five years.
— Steve Separate
Getting divorced isn’t going to increase either of your Social Security benefits. She’s not going to get two checks. You’re not going to get two checks. Your benefits aren’t going to increase.
I suppose it’s possible that if she was married for at least 10 years to someone before she was married to you, she could switch to his benefits after the two of you divorce, and her benefits might increase based on his earnings record.
If you’re dipping into savings to pay the mortgage, your finances are telling you that you’re overextended. You need to correct that problem, possibly by downsizing to a home you can afford.
Ask the adviser
To ask a question of Dr. Don, go to the “Ask the Experts” page and select one of these topics: “Senior Living,” “Financing a home,” “Saving & Investing” or “Money.” Read more Dr. Don columns for additional personal finance advice.
More On Social Security:
- Social Security benefits calculator
- 7 little-known Social Security benefits
- Social security benefits marriage