Social Security and Geographic Restriction

Live at Five’s board certified family attorney, Sonya Coffman, answers questions submitted by Southeast Texas KFDM News viewers. These questions include:

  • Should you draw on your spouse’s social security benefit?
  • What will happen if I move out of the area in which I am geographically restricted to live?
  • Is it possible to sue your ex for ruining your credit?


for someone getting a divorce social security may be the last thing on his or her mind how can the timing of the divorce affect one’s financial position Live at Five’s family attorney Sonya Coffman joins us now with more social security not on a lot of people’s mind probably not at the time of divorce but it's important to know that if you've been married at least ten years you can draw on your ex-spouse’s social security record so I had a lady not so long ago in my office contemplating divorce and she had been married about nine and a half years in a simple way you need to think about this can you wait for six more months exactly exactly uh if marriage lasted ten years or longer and the applicant is at least sixty-two years old and if your ex-spouse is eligible to draw either retirement or disability benefits from social security then you can make application to draw on their record if that amount is greater than what you would get on your own record and how would you know that you can visit the local social security office and they give you that information you have the election it's either fifty percent at the ex-spouses amount or a hundred percent of your amount whichever is greater and it's also important to know that your ex-spouse doesn't have to consent to this his benefit won’t be affected by that it's just in addition to what he receives and it may can actually help you out especially if you've been a stay-at-home mom exactly and have not worked this is a good option it also can be a good option for someone who would like to begin drawing social security but he's not sixty-seven because for some people that's full social security benefit age so you could draw on your ex-spouses benefit at sixty two and delay drawing on your own benefit until sixty seven which would most likely result in higher benefit to you definitely something that you'd want to look at absolutely we've got some questions on our KFDM News Facebook page uh one person writes my ex and I share custody of her son my paper say I have to live in Jefferson County but I want to move to Vidor for the school and my job if I do what will happen well I would advise this viewer to check her papers very carefully because usually the geographic restrictions says Jefferson and contiguous counties which include which would include Orange County if that's the case then she needs to follow the directions in the papers about given the proper notice to her ex-husband but if however it truly says just Jefferson County then she’s in violation of that geographic restriction and he could in fact take her back to court he could enforce that he could file another enforcement or a modification of custody so I would say she needs to go back to court to get that lifted before moving if that's what the paper say okay real quickly is it possible to sue your ex for ruining your credit most likely not because under the doctrine of Res Judicata any claims that you have against a spouse need to be brought as part of the divorce so if they are already divorced and this conduct happened during the marriage it's probably too late okay Sonya as always we appreciate you taking the time to stop by and if you have a question about family law let Sonya answer your questions you can fax those questions eight nine two seven three oh five email us at or post them on our KFDM Facebook page