Taxes and Divorce
Filing one’s taxes in the wake of a divorce can be a daunting process. If you are currently navigating the divorce process or have recently finalized your divorce, you have certainly been through a great deal of practical and financial upheaval in the past several months. Staring down the detailed, time-intensive and consequential process of filing your taxes as a newly separated or single person can be anxiety-inducing, to say the least.
Thankfully, the process of filing one’s taxes is fairly methodical, as long as you have access to complete and accurate information about how your divorce may affect your tax-related obligations. Before filing, it is generally a good idea to speak with an experienced attorney so that you do not unintentionally ignore certain obligations, fail to benefit from specific deductions and/or submit incomplete or inaccurate information to the Internal Revenue Service. A bit of proactive work can go a long way towards ensuring tax-related peace of mind.
One of the first challenges you will want to consider is how you intend to file. If you are still married or were married for a portion of the year for which you are filing, you may not need to file as a single adult. As filing status may greatly impact your tax rate, it is worth exploring your options. Additionally, you may wish to speak to your attorney about how the property you acquired (or may acquire, if your divorce settlement is not yet finalized) needs to be taxed in the wake of your divorce.
Spousal Support, Child Support and Dependents
If you have minor children, you will need to determine whether you can claim them as dependents on your tax return. Most often, if parents have not agreed to an alternative arrangement during the course of their divorce negotiations, the parent who houses a child more days of the year than his or her other parent does remains entitled to claim that child as a dependent. It is also important to note that child support payments are not deductible, nor are they considered taxable income. If you have questions about what forms of financial support qualify as child support for tax purposes, do not hesitate to ask your attorney.
Unlike child support, the payment and receipt of spousal support may have explicit impacts upon your tax obligations. In general, spousal support payments are deductible and payments received are taxable income. However, you should consult your attorney about notable exceptions to these broad rules of thumb. For example, if you and your former spouse still share expenses for your marital home, only a certain percentage of the mortgage payment is deductible as spousal support.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you have questions about the divorce process generally or tax issues related to divorce specifically, please do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced divorce lawyer in Rockville, MD. Lawyers whose practices specialize in family legal matters will be best placed to advise you of your legal options after learning about your specific circumstances. There are a number of variables that may influence your tax obligations post-divorce, so it is generally a good idea to seek individualized counsel before filing.
Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into family law and tax obligations after divorce.