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Frequently Asked Questions About How Divorce Affects Taxes

Are you wondering how your divorce could affect your upcoming tax return? Below are answers to some frequently asked questions we receive related to how divorce affects taxes:

Q: My spouse and I have been separated for months. Can we file as single people?

You can only file as single if you are legally divorced. You may file under the tax status “married filing separately,” although “married filing jointly” could be more advantageous to you financially.

Q: I am a divorced parent who pays child support. My children live with their other parent. Can I claim head of household on my taxes?

No. Your children must live with you for more than half of the year for you to be able to claim head of household status on your taxes.

Q: Am I unable to qualify as a head of a household if my ex-spouse claims the child as an exemption?

You may file as the head of the household, even if you do not claim your dependent child as an exemption, so long as you meet three requirements. First, you must be unmarried or considered unmarried as of the final day of the year. Second, you must have paid more than half the cost of upkeep for your home for that year. Finally, your qualifying child must have lived with you in the home for more than half the year, barring temporary absences for school or other similar reasons.

Q: Are my former spouse and I allowed to split the dependent exemption, each claiming it for six months?

No. However, you may take that exemption in alternating years. IRS dictate that the primary custodial parent (parent that has the child living with them more than half the year) claims the exemption. But is very common for parents to alternate the exemption to acknowledge that both parents are contributing financially to the child’s upbringing.

If you have additional questions about how your divorce could affect your taxes, speak with a knowledgeable Minnesota divorce lawyer at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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