Divorce brings up many questions that need to be answered, and some of these questions are difficult. How you handle your income tax is an example of a divorce problem you may be facing for which there is not an easy solution.
Solutions to Tax Filing Questions
During a divorce, just like during marriage, you do have the option to file alone. However, you may be giving up certain tax breaks. You can file jointly only if you are still married on December 31 or the end of the tax year. Even if you are separated, you are still legally married as long as there are no final court judgments ending your marriage.
Just as with other issues, you will need to discuss with your former spouse how you will handle your tax filing if you are not divorced by December 31st of the previous tax year. It is important to discuss the pros and cons of a joint return. Be sure to include your divorce attorney in the conversation.
When you file jointly, your tax burden is usually lower. However, you will also be liable for any tax deficiencies, interest or errors just as your spouse will be. You do have the option of getting a Tax Indemnification Agreement, which will protect you somewhat in the event your spouse makes an tax filing error. This type of relief falls into three categories: innocent spouse, separation or liability and equitable.
If you do not file separately, but you were still legally married on December 31st, one spouse can file as Head of Household while the other files as Married Filing Separately. Which one you choose will depend on your specific circumstances, such as who paid more towards the maintenance of the house, who the kids lived with or if you lived separately for more than six months.
Protecting Yourself During Divorce
The best way to protect yourself during a divorce is to have an experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney by your side like those at Men’s Legal Center. Our team of skilled divorce attorneys can help you when dealing with any divorce issues, including taxes. For example, we can ensure that a settlement agreement or separation agreement addresses how you will handle taxes. If you file jointly, we can even include information on how the refund check will be divided. Taking the time to consider things like taxes with your attorney will save you stress and confusion.
When it comes to divorce, it is important to always have clear written agreements. At Men’s Legal Center, we can help you create, negotiate and enforce these agreements. We are here to represent you during this confusing and emotional time. We have your best interests in mind and will work tirelessly to see that your rights are fully protected. Contact us today.