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Filing Taxes After Divorce

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If you have gone through a divorce in the past year, you may be wondering how this will change your tax status. Filing taxes can be a confusing process for anybody, and the divorce process is just one of many complications. However, with a better understanding of how the tax process works, you may find a way to minimize your tax burden.

Taxes After Divorce: Filing Jointly or Individually

How you can file your taxes at the end of the year is based on several variables:

  • If you were legally married on the last day of the calendar year, you can file jointly with the other person. Many people choose this option, since it typically leads to the lowest tax burden. However, be aware that filing jointly means you are both fully liable for the contents of the tax filing. If you are less financially savvy than the other party, you may wish to hire an independent accountant to review the filing and its supporting documents. There is also the option of the "married filing separately" status. Both spouses should determine how these filing statuses will affect their tax liabilities and benefits.
  • If you were legally divorced by the end of the year, you may be able to file as a single individual or a head of household. Typically, filing as a head of household is more beneficial tax-wise, but there are other conditions you must meet. To qualify as a head of household, you must have paid at least half the cost of maintaining a home, and must have lived in that home with a qualifying dependent such as a child for over half the year.

Whether you're filing as married or single, there are plenty of factors to keep in mind regarding your tax filing. Thankfully, figuring out how you'll be filing may be a big step toward figuring it out.

Alimony, Child Support, and Tax Filing

One thing you may need to keep in mind regarding your tax filing is the distinction between alimony and child support payments. Child support is not considered a tax-deductible expense or taxable income. Alimony, however, is considered deductible. In some cases, divorcing spouses may try to declare a property settlement or child support as alimony payments. The IRS regulates this strictly, and has several rules regarding what is considered alimony.

Tax preparation can be confusing, and especially so if you're figuring out how your divorce will fit into the equation. Luckily, a divorce attorney may be able to better explain the options available to you. Call 877-349-1310 or complete the following form to get in touch with a divorce lawyer near you.

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Laws may have changed since our last update. This is for informational purposes and is not legal or financial advice. Speak to a local divorce attorney for legal advice about your particular situation.

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