Ask NJ Money Help asked Kim to weigh in on an important question.

I was married for 25 years, divorced then remarried for five years, but the second marriage is coming to an end. Can I still collect half of my first ex-husband’s Social Security benefits at retirement age now that I will be single again?
— Hopeful

Here’s what she had to say:

We’re sorry to hear about the end of your second marriage.

The Social Security rules surrounding divorce and spousal benefits are very specific.

Yes, you still can collect one-half of your first ex-husband’s Social Security despite only being married to your second husband for five years.

However, you must be officially divorced from your second spouse to be eligible to collect spousal benefits from your first spouse.

To collect benefits from a divorced spouse, you must be 62 or older and have been married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years.

But, it’s possible that you may not actually collect half of your ex-husband’s benefit, as this is a common misconception.

The maximum amount of the spousal benefit is half of the spouse’s primary insurance amount — the Full Retirement Age Benefit.

Your ex-husband may delay receiving his benefit until age 70 to receive delayed retirement credits. These credits would increase his benefit by 8% each year but do not increase the spousal benefit.

Additionally, if you begin collecting your spousal benefit before reaching full retirement age, that benefit will be reduced.

This Q&A originally appeared on