We’re smack in the middle of tax season, and if you are recently divorced or in the midst of one, there are a few things you need to know.
We’ll talk about them in this issue.
We’re separated, so how does that affect how we file?
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), if there was no final court order ending your marital status by December 31, you both still qualify as married.
Even if you have a temporary order about alimony or child custody, you’re still considered married in the eyes of the IRS until that court order comes through. If your divorce was final by December 31, you will have to file as either “Single” or “Head of Household.”
Be aware if you file jointly of the associated risks. Filing jointly means that you co-share responsibilities with associated penalties and interest. If your partner fails to pay, you’ll be on the hook to the IRS for what’s owed.
What about “Married filing separately”?
You can get around being liable for your spouse’s tax obligations by checking the “Married filing separately” box.
Be aware, though, that by doing this, you lose being able to claim earned income and higher education tax credits and possibly others.
Also, if you file separately, you’ll both have to take standard deductions or itemize. If your partner chooses to itemize, you both must itemize.
Are my divorce legal fees tax deductible?
Unfortunately, you can’t deduct court costs or legal fees associated with your divorce. However, you can deduct portions of those fees that relate to alimony and tax advice. To claim those, just itemize the billing statements that clearly identify those costs.
What if we both want to claim a child as the same dependent?
If there’s no divorce order, custody or separation claim outlining who can claim the child as a dependent, the IRS looks at a host of variables, including:
Parents will take preference over non-parents
Whomever the child lives with the longest during a tax year
If both partners live in the same residence, the one with the higher adjusted gross income will be able to claim the dependent
If You’re Facing Divorce in San Diego, Call The Men’s Legal Center
Divorce impacts just about every aspect of our lives. That’s why it’s crucial to have someone on your side who understands divorce law thoroughly and can anticipate how you’ll potentially be affected.
If you’re a man facing divorce, call us at The Men’s Legal Center. Our number is 619-234-3838 or you can reach us via email.