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What to know about filing taxes after divorce

If you count yourself among the many people across North Carolina who are currently navigating their way through a divorce, you are probably learning a good bit about how to adapt to change. While your living situation, your financial obligations and your relationship status are among the many transitions you might experience during this time, other areas of your life also undergo change when you split from a husband or wife.

How you file your taxes, for example, is going to change in the aftermath of your divorce, and there can be a bit of a learning curve involved in getting them back on track. If you are going through a divorce, it may benefit you to take the following actions with regard to your taxes:

Change your name in a timely manner

If you are a woman who plans to revert back to using your maiden name after your divorce, do not hesitate to start the process of legally changing your name. The name you provide on your tax return must match the name the U.S. Social Security Administration has on file, or you can anticipate lengthy delays in processing your return.

Determine who will claim any children you share

Once your divorce becomes final, you and your former spouse will have to decide who is going to claim any shared children on tax returns when it comes time to file. Typically, this benefit goes to the parent who has primary custody over the child, but in some cases, parents can work out arrangements together that would involve the other, noncustodial parent claiming any children as dependents.

Make sure to use the proper filing status

When you file your taxes, your marital status on Dec. 31 of that tax year will determine how you must file your taxes. If your divorce is not final until, say, Jan. 5, you must typically file under one of the statuses reserved for married people.

Major life changes have major tax implications, but knowing what to expect can help you ensure you have your ducks in a row long before the filing deadline.

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