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Answers to 3 common questions about tax consequences of divorce

As you prepare for divorce, there are probably a lot of things swirling around in your mind. With heightened emotions and so many problems overwhelming you, it can be easy to forget about or overlook some important things. For example, have you thought about how your divorce will affect your taxes?

If not, it is no reason to be ashamed – it is common to be unaware of this consequence of divorce. That is why you can find below the answers to common questions you may have about the tax implications of getting a divorce. 

1. What filing status should I use?

The answer to this question depends on the year in which your divorce is final. If it gets finalized by December 31, and you do not remarry, then you can choose Single filing status, or Head of Household if you qualify. But if the divorce finishes the following year, then you should choose between Married Filing Separately or Married Filing Jointly. 

2. What do I do about alimony?

According to the Internal Revenue Service, spousal support payments are deductible for the paying spouse. However, the recipient will have to pay taxes on the alimony. Voluntary payments outside of the terms of a divorce decree do not follow these same standards. 

3. Can I claim my kids as dependents?

Generally speaking, you can claim any of your children as dependents if you have custody of them for six months or more. This is because of the residency test of the IRS. If your child is with you less than 50 percent of the time, then you will probably not be able to claim him or her on your taxes. 

Taxes are confusing and worrisome enough on their own, and divorce does not help. It may be the last subject you want to think about, but you should do some planning in advance to make sure you are prepared.