How Do You File Your Taxes If You Are Going Through a Divorce?

The prospect of an impending tax filing deadline, even with this year’s deadline extension, is intimidating to many.  The need to gather what can seem like endless paperwork and make sure everything is filed correctly, with the ever-present fear of an audit, is easily overwhelming. If you are going through a divorce, or have recently divorced, there is added stress in your life. For the first time in a while, you may be confronted with the question of how you are actually going to file your taxes. Most married couples file as “married filing jointly.” What if you are recently divorced? Or going through a divorce? How do you file your taxes then? This is an important question and it is important that, if you are in this position, you evaluate all options available to you.

How Do You File Your Taxes If You Are Going Through a Divorce?

First and foremost, whatever your marital status was as of the last day of December, that will guide your marital status for how you will file your taxes for that entire year. For those couples whose divorce was finalized on or prior to December 21st, you are not able to file jointly. If your divorce has not been finalized and is still pending, you have several options available to you as far as how you can file your taxes.

If you are still legally married as of December 21st, you and your soon-to-be former spouse may still file as “married filing jointly.” As long as there is no final court judgment declaring your marriage is over, this option is still available to you. Both you and your spouse must agree to filing like this. There are benefits to filing jointly. Those filing jointly tend to have lower tax burdens. This will, of course, depend on your income levels, and what deductions and credits you may claim. One of the main disadvantages of filing jointly is the fact that both you and your spouse are completely responsible for the resulting tax liabilities. You are also both on the hook should there be any legal problems or tax problems caused by any mistakes or misrepresentations made on the tax filings. If you are concerned that your spouse may have legal problems or tax problems, or if you are worried about your spouse’s potential tax debts, you will definitely want to consider filing separately.

If you are still married as of December 21st, but still wish to file separately from your spouse, you may be able to file as “married filing separately” or “head of household.” Which one you will be able to file depends on your circumstances as each has its own requirements for those looking to file. Should you and your spouse choose to file separately, and you have children together, you will need to discuss who will claim the child exemption. While someone should claim this exemption, both of you may not do so. You will also need to discuss who will claim the child care credit, if eligible.

Florida Family Law Attorneys

If you are going through a divorce or have recently been through a divorce, there will be many decisions for you to make. Many of which you may not have considered prior to the need to actually make the decision. The Florida family law attorneys at Orlando Family Team can counsel you on all aspects of divorce. We are here to answer your questions and provide unwavering legal support. Contact us today.