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Social Security: What Every Ex-Spouse Should Know

Social Security is the primary source of income for millions of retirees. But there's a lot of confusion about how divorce affects benefits for ex-spouses. With complex rules, divorced spouses need to understand the ramifications of certain decisions on their Social Security benefits.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, runs through the basics of Social Security rules governing ex-spouses. Dan points out that 10 years is the key time frame for the length of a marriage to give divorced spouses rights to claim benefits based on their ex-spouse's work history. Moreover, Dan notes that your ex-spouse's future marital status doesn't matter, but if you remarry, it can close the door to collecting benefits based on your ex-spouse's earnings. Dan concludes with some special rules governing survivors' benefits that are more lenient on those who remarry.

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Dan Caplinger
TMFGalagan

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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