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The 10 Year Rule in Texas: The Significance of Passing the 10 Year Milestone in Marriages

You may have heard that unhappy couples should divorce prior to hitting the milestone of 10 years of marriage. In Texas, there is something known as the “10 year rule” referencing the laws surrounding spousal maintenance and social security. After 10 years of marriage, you are eligible for these benefits; however, especially with spousal maintenance, eligibility does not equal a guarantee.


Social Security

After 10 years of marriage, you can receive social security benefits through your former spouse if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are 62 years of age or older

  • Your ex-spouse is eligible to receive Social Security benefits or disability benefits

  • You remain single and do not remarry

  • Your Social Security benefits are less than what you would potentially receive based on your former spouse’s Social Security benefit


You can find more information on Social Security benefits on the Social Security Administration's website of www.ssa.gov or by visiting your local Social Security Office. This rule is not unique to the state of Texas.


If you have any questions about Social Security benefits, one of The Split’s attorney or Certified Divorce Financial Analyst partners may be able to answer your questions.


Spousal Maintenance

Texas does not have alimony. Instead, Texas law allows a person to receive spousal maintenance if they meet a series of qualifying factors. One of the qualifying factors is that you were married for at least 10 years. For details on spousal maintenance, please see our blog post discussing spousal maintenance in detail here (include a hyperlink or we could reiterate what we already discussed in that blog?).


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