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Can I File Taxes In Middle Of Divorce?

Simple answer: yes... but. More complex answer: it depends. Best answer: ask your attorney. Whether and how to file taxes is subject of debates and litigation.  This is especially a concern when there are exemptions and itemizing deductions.  If the parties are married at the end of the year, the parties generally must file as "Married, filing jointly" or "Married, filing separately." Simple Law:  IF married filing jointly, then both must agree and should sign the final documents.  Any refund will be sent to the parties and both must execute a refund check.  If filing separately, then only one party can claim any given child/person as an exemption and if one party itemizes then the other party is required to itemize as well. More Complex Law:  If you file separately without a Court OrderYOU may be subject to the court ordering you to refile, face contempt (if there is a Status Quo Order) or you may have to offset any gains with other marital assets and debts.  For example, last year I had a client file without court order and against my advice. She figured that if she filed jointly, they would split about $2,000 in refund and if she filed alone, head of household that she would receive about $8,000 refund in her name alone.  She took the chance. The judge made her refund $4,000 to her husband and made her pay 1/2 of Husband' tax liability (about $7,000).  She ended up financially much worse by seeking the quick and immediate refund. Best Law:  Either enter into an agreed order between parties to file jointly or best total and equally divide net refund/liability for taxes.  If an agreed order cannot be reached, ask the court for an Order on how to file for the given tax year.  Worst case, file for an extension and resolve the dispute before the October 15th deadline.

Other issues to remember:  1. Spousal maintenance is taxable to the payee and tax deductible to payor; 2. Courts have authority to authorize exemptions even though IRS rules are in place for primary caregiver; 3. Child support is not taxable; 4. If you are married 12/31, you can almost never file Individually; 5. If you are divorced before 12/31, you may have many filing options.

If you have questions about tax filing, contact your attorney.  If  you do not have an attorney and need help with your divorce, contact Michael Bouldin at the Bouldin Law Firm. Call or email at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected].

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