How a Divorce May Affect Your Income Taxes

13 May 2019
 Categories: Law, Blog


If you are planning on getting divorced this year, you may have questions about how it will affect your income taxes next year. A divorce may have some effects on this aspect of your life, but the effects it has will greatly depend on your unique situation. Here are several things you should know about income taxes and divorce.

You must file jointly if your divorce was not through by December 31

The first thing to know is that you and your spouse must file your tax return together if you were still married on the last day of the year. The IRS can determine if you were married or not on December 31, and they will require that you file jointly if you were still legally married. This means that if your divorce goes through on January 1, you must still file jointly, simply because you were married on the last day of the year.

You can file individually after the divorce is through

Once your divorce goes through, you will be able to file individually the following year. When this happens, it can either offer positive effects or negative ones, depending on your situation. For example, if you will file alone for the first time after barely making any money, you might receive a tax refund back. If you file alone and after making a lot of money, you might owe more in taxes. The effects will depend on your situation.

You will need a plan for splitting dependents

If there are kids involved with the divorce, you will need a plan for splitting them up as dependents. Only one parent can claim the kids each year, and some parents will agree to have the right to do this every other year, while others base it off who gave the most support to the children. You can fight this, though, if you really want to have the right to claim them each year on your return.

Alimony counts, but child support does not

The last thing to know is that if you pay child support, you cannot write it off as an expense, but you can write off alimony you paid. Additionally, you are not required to include child support you receive as income, but you are required to include alimony as income if you received it.

Understanding how this works can help you plan accordingly for your taxes next year. If you have more questions about this or other issues related to divorces, contact a divorce attorney today.