Filing Taxes After a Divorce: Answers to Your Top Questions

Filing income taxes after divorce

After a divorce, you may have to cope with new-to-you tax issues. You might even be filing your own income tax returns for the first time, which can be stressful.

If you are recently divorced and are getting ready to file your taxes, you may have several concerns. Get answers by reading about some of the most frequently asked questions we hear about filing taxes after divorce.
Filing income taxes after divorce

How Do You Determine Your Tax Filing Status After Divorce?

Your marital status at the end of the year determines your tax filing status.

If your divorce was finalized by Dec. 31, you will have to file your own tax return. You may qualify for head-of-household status if you are a custodial parent and you lived apart from your former spouse for the last six months of the tax year. If not, you will probably file as a single taxpayer.

If your divorce didn’t go through until after the first of the year, you’ll likely choose “married filing separately” for your status. You can still file taxes jointly with your ex-spouse, if it makes financial sense — but going that route may not be a good idea if you don’t have a cordial relationship.

Who Gets to Claim the Children on Their Tax Return After Divorce?

After a divorce, only one person gets to claim the children, and in most cases, the custodial parent enjoys the privilege.

If you’re the custodial parent, you may be eligible for tax breaks like the earned income credit (EIC), child and dependent care credit and an exclusion for childcare assistance.

If you’re the noncustodial parent, you cannot take advantage of these benefits. But your former spouse can choose to let you claim the dependency exemption.

How Do Child Support & Alimony Affect Your Taxes?

Child support and alimony have different tax implications. The IRS has rules specifying how both the payee and the payer should address the payments on their income tax claim.

If you receive child support, you do not treat the payments as income. Alimony payments, on the other hand, are considered to be taxable income and must be listed as such.

If you pay child support, you cannot deduct the expense when you file taxes. However, the opposite is true for alimony payments — the IRS considers alimony to be a deductible expense.

Filing taxes can be a bit tricky the first year following a divorce, but an experienced lawyer can help you get through the process unscathed. If you live in Utah and have questions about life after divorce, turn to Rex B. Bushman, attorney at law.

With decades of experience and a solid professional reputation, Rex B. Bushman is the Utah divorce lawyer you need in your corner. For expert legal advice before, during and after a divorce, schedule a complimentary consultation today.

NOTE: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Contact an attorney to obtain legal advice.