Many clients going through family law matters will have questions regarding how they can/should file their taxes as well as what tax consequences may arise in their situation and the answers vary depending on if it’s a divorce, custody, or support matter. To start with divorce, while married parties can choose between married filing jointly and married filing separately. Generally speaking, it is more beneficial to file jointly. If the divorce finalizes by December 31st, parties can then opt to file single or head of household for that year. The head of household status may also be available while still considered married if you’ve been separated for at least six months, have paid at least half the cost of maintaining your own residence, and can rightfully claim any dependent children. In dividing property as part of a divorce, it is possible to rollover some assets (namely retirement accounts) to avoid immediate tax penalty. Also, certain transfers in the context of a divorce matter are exempt from being taxed such as transfer of real property.
Speaking of claiming dependent children, this leads right into considerations in custody. The primary custodial parent has the right to claim minor children on their tax return. To be the primary custodial parent you must have a greater number of overnights. It is however possible for the non-custodial parent to be able to claim the exemption if the custodial parent completes IRS form 8332 waiving their right to the exemption. The number of deductions claimed or filing status can impact a support award as it can alter the net monthly income of the parties which is used to calculate support awards. Alimony is deductible from the party paying alimony and taxed as income to the party receiving it. It is always a good idea to confer with a tax expert for the most sound advice on addressing your individual tax matters.
Click here to read more on how the IRS views Divorced/Separated Parents