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How Does My Divorce Effect My Taxes?

divorce and taxes

There’s a lot to like about April in Florida, including the weather, clear skies, plenty of sun, and all the other joys of spring. But one thing that most adults in Florida aren’t excited about when April rolls around is the fact that mid-April is tax time. The idea of filing and paying taxes is unpleasant, but for couples with a recent or ongoing divorce, filing taxes can be downright miserable.

While tax time may be irksome, and extra confusing if you are going through a divorce or have recently parted from your spouse, paying taxes is a fact of life. For answers to some of your tough questions about how your divorce may affect your taxes, consider the following frequently asked questions:

I Recently Divorced My Spouse. Do I File as “Married” or “Single?”

One question that many recently divorced people have, or those who are separated but not official divorced yet, is whether they should file as “married” or as “single.”

How you file depends on your marital status on the last day of the tax year for which you are filing. For example, if you are filing taxes in April 2018, you are reporting on last year’s earnings. Therefore, if you were married on December 31, 2017, you will need to file as “Married,” even if you are currently divorced. The Florida Bar Journal explains that even if a temporary alimony order has been issued, which may make it clear to you that you are separated and nearly divorced, the IRS will still likely consider you to be married. To file as an unmarried individual, there must be “a decree, order, or judgement of legal separation.”

I Am Not the Primary Custodian of My Children – Can I Claim the Dependent Exemption?

A dependent exemption for a child can reduce your taxable income, helping you to save money. For the 2017 tax year, you can claim an exemption of $4,050 for a qualifying child if the child is 18 or younger at the end of the tax year (or under 24 and a full-time student) and lives with you for more than half of the year. As such, if you are not the primary custodian of your children and your children are not living with you for at least 183 days, you unfortunately cannot claim this exemption.

How Do I Report Things Like Alimony and Child Support?

Alimony (also called spousal maintenance) and child support are common in a divorce settlement, and you may have questions about how to report them on your taxes if either were part of your divorce judgement.

Alimony counts as income if you are receiving it and is deductible if you are paying it. Child support, on the other hand, is neither taxable nor deductible.

I Am Filing a Joint Tax Return, but My Divorce Is Pending. What Will We Do with the Refund?

If you are not officially divorced yet but a divorce is in the works, it is likely that you will file your taxes jointly this April. Which means that you will likely receive a jointtax refund in a few weeks’ time. If your divorce settlement has yet to be finalized, how this tax refund will be split may be an issue for you and your spouse to consider (or for the judge to decide). If your divorce is finalized before the refund arrives, you and your spouse will need to discuss how it will be divided. Hiring a professional to aid you in making this decision is a worthwhile consideration.

Can I Deduct Divorce-Related Fees?

Getting a divorce is often an expensive process, especially because working with an experienced Florida divorce attorney is strongly advised. Many people wonder whether they can deduct any of their divorce-related expenses, including lawyers’ fees. According to the IRS, you cannot deduct costs of litigation, counseling, or personal advice. However, you may be able to deduct some fees associated with disputing alimony rights.

Contact Our Law Offices Today

If you have questions about taxes and divorce, or if you are ready to start the process of filing for your divorce, our legal team at the offices of Crystal Collins Spencer, Attorney at Law can help. Call us today at 850-912-8080, visit our law office in person, or send us an email at your convenience today.

316 S. Baylen Street, Suite 520
Pensacola, FL 32502
Telephone: 850.912.8080 Fax: 850.912.8028

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