Once you have begun the divorce process you need to discuss with the other party how to file the taxes. The parties can either file Married Filing Jointly, Marring Filing Separately, or Head of Household.
Married Filing Jointly
If the divorce is not yet final at the end of the calendar year, the parties can file their taxes jointly. Joint returns tax a married couple as if each spouse had the same taxable income. Therefore, when filed jointly, there are usually substantial tax savings.
Married Filing Separately
If the parties do not agree or do not want to file their taxes together, they can file their taxes separately. If filed separately each spouse will be taxed on their respective earnings separately. However, the parties will have to allocate income, treating income earned before the separation date as community property, which is taxable half to each, and income earned after the separation date with be the earning spouse’s separate property. This method is more complicated and will cost more for the accountant to prepare.
Head of Household:
If a taxpayer is married at the end of the year but separated, that person can qualify for head of household if: the taxpayer files a separate return; the taxpayer maintains his or her home as the principal place where the child resides; the taxpayer is entitled to claim that child as a dependent; the taxpayer furnishes over one-half of the cost of maintaining such household during the tax year; and the taxpayer’s spouse has not been a member of the household during the last 6 months of the year.
Therefore, it is important to obtain the services of a knowledgeable Southern California divorce attorney to explain the benefits of tax status filings, exemptions, etc when in the middle of a divorce. Wallin & Klarich has more than 30 years of experience in family law. Our attorneys know from long experience in divorce cases, and are prepared to fight to get you the best possible outcome. With 16 attorneys in 33 offices throughout Southern California, we can be there when you need us — wherever you are. If you’re thinking of hiring an attorney for a divorce, call us today at 1-888-749-7428 for a consultation, or fill out the online case evaluation form.