How Do I File Taxes Following a Divorce?

tax return form 1040

Taxes are incredibly confusing for many. However, when you and your spouse divorce, this can make the process even more complex. As such, if you and your spouse are going through a divorce, understanding the tax implications this can have is critical. The following blog explores what you should know if you are going to file taxes for the first time following your divorce and why you should consider connecting with a Los Angeles divorce attorney who can help you through the process of filing for divorce and the impacts it can have on the rest of your life.

What Should I Know the First Time I File Taxes After a Divorce?

One of the most common questions divorcing spouses have regards their filing status. You may not know whether you should check the “married – filing jointly” box or the “single” one. Generally, when you and your spouse decide to file for divorce will impact this decision. If you choose to file in January of 2025, you can file jointly for 2024, for example. This is because you were married for the entire of the tax year. However, if you decide to divorce in September of 2024, for example, you’ll need to file separately. This is because you are not legally married for the entirety of the tax year.

You may also be able to file as the head of your household if you and your spouse divorce before the year is over. This applies if you and your spouse did not live together for the last six months of the year, paid more than half the cost of maintaining your home, and your home was the main residence for a dependant child for more than half the year.

What Else Should I Know About This Process?

In addition to determining your status the first time you file for divorce, you should also understand whether or not alimony is considered taxable income. The federal government does not consider alimony taxable income for the recipient spouse or a tax deduction for the paying spouse. However, the State of California does. As such, when you file, you must report alimony payments as income on your taxes if you are the recipient spouse. Similarly, you can claim them as a tax deduction if you are the paying spouse.

Other important changes you may make when filing your taxes for the first time after a divorce include changing your legal name, adjusting your tax withholding status, and determining which parent will claim their child as a dependant when filing taxes.

Dealing with the tax implications of a divorce among the additional considerations you must make when ending your marriage can be incredibly overwhelming for many. As such, it’s in your best interest to connect with an experienced attorney from the Zitser Family Law Group who can help guide you through these complex processes. We understand how confusing it can be to consider all the factors and decisions you must make when divorcing, which is why we are ready to provide you with the guidance you need to make this process as easy as possible for you. Connect with us today to discuss your circumstances if you and your spouse have decided a divorce is right for you.

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