How Should I File Taxes If I’m in the Process of Getting Divorced

You may still be able to file a joint tax return if you are getting divorced, or you might want to file as married filing separately. If you are already divorced, whether you can file as married will depend on the date of your divorce.

Determining Your Filing Status

When it comes to getting divorced and filing your taxes, the first thing you need to do is determine your filing status. If you get divorced after January 1, then you have options. You can file your tax returns jointly, and you can file as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.”

As Turbotax explains, your marital status on December 31 of the year of your tax returns is what determines whether you can file as married or single. There are certain tax benefits to filing “married” that you can still take advantage of if you are not divorced by December 31 of the tax year.

If your divorce was finalized or will be finalized by December 31, then you cannot file as married. You cannot even file as “married filing separately.” Instead, you must file either as single or as head of household. You can file as head of household if your divorce is finalized by December 31 of the tax year and you have a dependent who has lived with you for more than one-half of the tax year.

Claiming Dependents On Your Tax Return

You probably wonder if you can still claim your child as a dependent on your tax return. If your child lived with you for more of the year than with your ex, you can likely claim the child as a dependent. The status of your divorce will not impact your ability to claim your child. In other words, claiming your child as a dependent is not based on whether or not your divorce is finalized, or when your divorce is finalized.

Claiming a Child Tax Credit

Claiming child tax credits is something you might also be able to do if you are claiming your child as a dependent when you file your taxes. In 2021, the child tax credit was up to $3,600 for one child. Additional tax credits also may be possible. However, you can only claim a child tax credit when you file your taxes if your child lived with you for more than half the year and you claimed the child as your dependent.

Deducting Your Child’s Medical Expenses

You can deduct medical expenses paid for your child regardless of whether your child lived primarily with you or your spouse. You can also deduct medical expenses paid for your child even if you are not claiming your child as a dependent. This is true if you are in the process of getting divorced or the divorce has been finalized.

Contact a South Carolina Family Lawyer for Assistance

Determining how to file your taxes and how to handle various tax issues when you are getting divorced can be complicated. One of the experienced South Carolina divorce attorneys at The Peck Law Firm can advise you on divorce and tax issues. Contact The Peck Law Firm online or call our office at (843) 631-7117.

Recommendations For Additional Reading

Divorce and Taxes: What You Need to Know
Can the IRS’s Innocent Spouse Relief Save You from Paying for Your Ex’s Mistakes?
50 Questions To Ask Your Charleston, SC Divorce Lawyer – Part 2