How Long Do You Have To Be Married To Get Half Of Retirement (And Why)?

Exact Answer: At Least 10 Years

Marriage can be defined as legal or formal recognition of a union consisting of two people who are in a relationship and have vowed to stay together for life. However, a marriage can also get legally dissolved by a court or other competent body. This process of dissolution of marriage is termed divorce.

Retirement refers to the action of leaving one’s job. It can also be understood as the end of one’s active working life as after retirement a person ceases to work. Many organizations and businesses provide their retired employees with retirement benefits that are paid in terms of money, popularly known as retirement corpus.

Retirement and pension benefits, gratuity, etc are given to retired employees as a token of gratitude and to ensure that the former employees of the organization can have a constant inflow of money even after retirement when they are not working and thus, live a secured life.


How Long Do You Have To Be Married To Get Half Of Retirement?

The retirement benefits are given to an employee at his retirement mainly consist of unclaimed leave encashment also called paid leaves, retirement gratuity, amounts accumulated in the employee’s provident fund to which money was contributed by both employee and employer throughout employees tenure while he was providing service to the organization.

Retirement benefits consist of two parts. However, this varies from case to case. The two parts are marital retirements and the other separate retirements benefits. Such separation of benefits makes it easy for determining how much of the retirement benefits would get transferred to one’s spouse in case of a divorce.

Generally, only the marital part of the retirements gets transferred to one’s spouse if the person has been married for at least 10 complete years. The marital retirement benefits are those which were acquired during the marriage and thus, the person’s spouse also has a right on them.

In most states, the equitable division of retirement is permissible only if the marriage is of 10 years or longer. This is because a ten-year-old marriage is considered a long-term marriage which makes one’s spouse eligible to claim half of the retirement after marriage.

Conditions Duration
Minimum duration to be married to get half of retirement10 years
Duration to be in employment to become eligible for retirement benefits/pension10 years

Why Do You Have To Be Married This Long To Get Half Of Retirement?

If one has been married for at least ten years it signifies both person have spent a substantial amount of time with each other. Thus, being married for ten years makes one eligible for certain benefits which might have not been allowed had the marriage not reached the ten-year mark.

Along with being married for 10 or more years, other conditions also have to be complied with if one wants an equitable distribution of retirements. If one does not remarry after divorce of a ten-year or longer marriage, then one can avail benefits of one’s former spouse’s retirement benefits.

Thus, various benefits can be availed if one’s marriage has reached or crossed the ten-year mark of togetherness. However, it should be remembered that one would get half of the contributions to retirement that were made during the marriage which is the marital part of retirement benefits.

The contributions that were made before the marriage had taken place are the separate property of the spouse and thus, the separate portion of retirement benefits that got accumulated before the marriage would not be divided equally irrespective of the length of the marriage.

Also, if one has been married for less than 10 years, then one would not be eligible to get half of retirement. However, a part of marital benefits might get divided that got accrued during the marriage but these conditions would differ depending on the facts of each case.


As per the 10 years rule, one gets eligible to get half of the spouse’s retirement benefits. However, this division of benefits would be from the contributions that got accumulated from the time the person got married. Contribution to the retirement benefits before marriage are not divided and continue to remain the separate property of the person who earned it.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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