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Filing Taxes During A Divorce

You and your spouse’s lives became entangled during your marriage. Dividing your assets, debts, and working through custody issues are some obvious prerequisites for dissolving your marriage. Taxes, however, may get overlooked until it’s your time to file them. Many divorcing couples ask about whether they should file jointly or separately. The answer to that question first depends on whether your divorce has been finalized. 

If your divorce was finalized before December 31st, you cannot file jointly. There are credits and tax deductions that are only available to married couples. Because your divorce was finalized, you cannot receive them. However, that doesn’t explain what you should do if you are in the middle of the divorce process and need to file your taxes. 

Use Your Resources

Because your divorce has not been finalized, you can file jointly or “married filing separately.” Ask your attorney and your accountant how you should proceed. No one expects you to navigate the divorce process alone. They can field these questions and provide guidance catered to your situation. 

For instance, you and your soon-to-be former spouse are equally responsible for the result when you file jointly. This includes any money that is owed to the government as well as any penalties that you incur. Your attorney understands the circumstances surrounding your divorce—and your accountant knows the ramifications. You have two solid assets to lean on to help you determine how you should file that will help you comply with any court orders and also get you the best financial result. 

How have you received your tax return in previous years? Most couples have a joint bank account, and the return went directly into it. Now that you are divorcing, is there anything in your court order indicating how and when the other spouse will share the money with you? Your attorney can include these necessary details in your agreement. The language she uses ensures you receive any other funds that go into the account you agreed to share. 

Lastly, speak with your attorney about the Child Tax Credit. This credit is reserved for the custodial parent (i.e., where the child lives most of the time). One parent may inadvertently claim the children without realizing they are not entitled to the credit. There are also circumstances where the custodial parent can give the exemption to the non-custodial parent, but specific tax forms must be completed and signed to accommodate this. 

Empowered Family Law, PC

At Empowered Family Law, PC, we understand how challenging divorce can be personally and professionally. That is why we maintain a network of professionals who can support you during this time. This includes therapists, mediators, and even financial advisors. For more information about how we can assist you with your family law issue, contact Empowered Family Law, PC, to schedule a consultation.


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With Empowered Family Law, you get an advocate who sees difficulties as opportunities for growth and emphasizes healing and problem-solving no matter how challenging your case.

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