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Tax Tips For Divorcing Couples


When married couples go through a legal separation or divorce, their change in relationship status could end up affecting their tax situation. Couples who share children, for instance, will need to determine who will claim those children as dependents on their tax returns. Newly divorced couples will also need to consider their new filing status and report any necessary property transfers. To learn more about the types of tax-related changes you may need to make after a divorce, don’t hesitate to reach out to our legal team.

Update Your Withholding

When a couple gets separated or divorced, they usually need to update their withholding with their employers by filing a new Form W-4. Generally, couples will need to hand this in to their employers within ten days of the finalization of the divorce or separation.

Reporting Alimony

Before 2019, a taxpayer who received alimony from a former spouse under a divorce decree, separate maintenance order, or written separation agreement had to include those payments when calculating income. Those same payments were also deductible by the payor spouse. This, however, is no longer true for those who entered into such an agreement after 2018.

Claiming a Dependent

In most cases, the parent with primary custody of a child can claim that child on his or her tax return. Parents who split custody equally, however, and who don’t file a joint return will need to decide who claims the child. Child support payments are not deductible by the paying parent and are not taxable for the payee.

Considering Your Filing Status

Couples whose divorces haven’t been finalized by the end of the year will be treated as though they are still married when filing taxes for that year. Options include filing as:

  • Married and filing jointly, where a couple reports their combined income and deduct their allowable expenses;
  • Married, but filing separately, where each spouse files his or her income, deductions, and credits on separate returns;
  • Head of household, which is available to separated individuals if their spouse hasn’t lived with them for the last six months, they paid more than half the cost of maintaining their home, and their residence was the main home of a dependent child for more than six months; or
  • Single, which is available to couples starting the year that their divorce order or separate maintenance order was issued.

For help determining your own filing status following divorce, please call our legal team today.

Changing Your Address

Finally, when one person moves out after getting divorced, he or she will need to notify the IRS of the new address change. Taxpayers can use Form 8822, Change of Address to do so. If both spouses relocate after the divorce, then both will need to notify the IRS of the change in address.

An Experienced Tax Return Preparation Lawyer

If you are going through a divorce and have questions about how that change in your relationship will affect your tax situation, call dedicated Florida tax return preparation lawyer, CPA, and former FBI Special Agent Ronald Cutler, P.A. at 386-490-9949 today.