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Taxes After Divorce


If you are considering divorce, or are legally separated, you may have questions about your tax filing status, what deductions you can claim, or which parent claims the children as a dependent for tax credit purposes. Fortunately, most tax considerations are contemplated and agreed upon in a marital settlement agreement. Conversely, not all parties adhere to provisions incorporated into a final divorce judgment. If you have questions about filing post-divorce, or if your ex-spouse/co-parent is not honoring your divorce judgment, call the Tampa divorce attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. for guidance.

Understanding Your Filing Status

If your divorce is finalized within the same calendar year, for example by December 31, 2020, then you cannot file joint tax returns for the year 2020. But if your divorce is still ongoing throughout 2021, you can file jointly for 2020, but would file as divorced,  or head of household in 2022 for 2021 taxes. You can only file as head of household status if you and your spouse agree to designate you as such, because you both share children. You must have custody of the child for more than half of the year and contribute to most of the household upkeep expenses to qualify for head of household status.

If you sold real property during the divorce, such as the marital home or an investment property, you may have to pay additional taxes or capital gains on rental property, but consult with your accountant or real estate agent to be sure. Keep copies of all W-4’s, paystubs, 1099’s, and income statements from interest-bearing accounts or retirement accounts, as well as health savings and flexible spending accounts. You have to verify that you maintained health insurance coverage for yourself and your dependents when filing taxes. Also keep a copy of your marital settlement agreement handy when you start the filing process.

Claiming Dependents

 Usually co-parents that share more than one child together will choose one child each to claim on taxes each year. If you have an odd number of children, some parents choose to alternate between odd and even years in claiming the third or fifth child. Similarly, if you share one child together, you might alternate odd or even years when claiming the child dependent tax credit. However, this only applies if the parents share joint physical custody with overnights. If one parent strictly has visitation every weekend, every other weekend or a similar arrangement, they can almost never claim the child as a dependent for year end tax filing purposes. This is because they don’t meet qualifications, even if they contribute to the child’s expenses via monthly child support payments. Also, if you have stepchildren and file jointly with your spouse, you, your spouse and his ex-spouse/co-parent need to decide who is filing what years for which dependent. A stepparent can claim a stepchild as a dependent because they are related by marriage, and as long as the child lives with the stepparent for more than half of the year.

Schedule a Consultation Today

Whether you have simple or complex questions about tax implications after divorce, our lawyers at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. have answers. We have experience in family and estate law and can assist you with various matters. If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, or if your ex-spouse wrongfully claimed your shared children as dependents when he does not have primary or joint custody, you need to take action as soon as possible. Our attorneys are located in Tampa and serve residents of Pinellas and Pasco Counties. Call today to schedule a consultation.


Location & Directions

Bubley & Bubley, P.A. is located in Tampa, FL and serves clients in and around Brandon, Odessa, Tampa, Oldsmar, Land O Lakes, Thonotosassa, Valrico, Wesley Chapel, Lutz, St Petersburg, Plant City & Brooksville, Safety Harbor, Holiday, Trilby, Crystal Beach, Ozona, Apollo Beach, New Port Richey, Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Port Richey, San Antonio, Spring Hill, Lithia, Pasco County and Pinellas County.

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