Skip to main content

Divorce and Taxes: 6 Issues to Be Aware of - Issue #1. Marital Status

There are two certainties in life: Death and Taxes. We've already written about how divorce and estate planning are interrelated, but what about divorce and taxes?

In all cases a divorce will affect some part of your tax return. In most cases there will be numerous changes in your income tax liability after your divorce and you should give consideration to what changes will take place because this could be a factor in determining the best divorce settlement for you. In some cases these changes may be complicated enough that your attorney should involve an accountant or certified financial planner to help analyze the different options. Our next five blog posts will explore the various issues raised by the interrelation of divorce and taxes so that you are at least aware of the issues to be on the lookout for.

Issue #1. MARITAL STATUS: The most obvious way that a divorce will affect your taxes is by changing your marital status. This is a change to your federal income tax return that will happen after every divorce case.

In Massachusetts, after the expiration of the Divorce Nisi waiting period (90 days from the issuance of the Judgment of Divorce Nisi) when the Judgment of Divorce becomes final you are officially divorced and you are no longer qualified to file a tax return as "married, filing jointly" or "married, filing separately". The key date for determining your tax year marital status is December 31. If your divorce nisi period crosses December 31, then you are technically still married in that tax year and must still file under a married status.

Obviously, marital status has a significant affect on your income tax liability and if you are scheduling an uncontested divorce hearing in the Fall you might want to consider whether it makes sense to schedule it early enough to change your status by December 31, or wait.

Click here to read Divorce & Taxes - Issue #2. Child Support v. Alimony.

Comments

  1. It was great post, but i think different states different taxes

    ReplyDelete
  2. In response to Divorce Advice: The Nisi period described in the above post is specific to Massachusetts (though other states may have waiting periods as well). Although, the timing may be different from state to state on income tax returns, the change in marital status will affect your federal and state income tax return at some point. As indicated in our Disclaimer, to apply the law to the specific facts of your case you should consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

What is the purpose of the Divorce Nisi waiting period?

In Massachusetts the statutory waiting period after a Judgment of Divorce and before the divorce becomes final (or absolute) is called the Nisi period. After a divorce case settles or goes to trial, a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This waiting period serves the purpose of allowing parties to change their mind before the divorce becomes final. If the Judgment of Divorce Nisi has issued but not become final yet, and you and your spouse decide you don't want to get divorced, then you can file a Motion to Dismiss and the Judgment will be undone. Although many of my clients who are getting divorced think the idea of getting back together with their ex sounds crazy, I have had cases where this happened. In addition to offering a grace period to change your mind, the Nisi period has three other legal effects: 1. The most obvious effect of the waiting period is that you cannot remarry during the Nisi period, be

Does a Criminal Record affect Child Custody?

If one of the parents in a custody case has a criminal record, the types of crimes on their record could have an effect on their chances of obtaining custody. In custody cases the issue is always going to come down to whether or not the best interests of the child might be affected. In the most extreme case, in which one parent has been convicted of first degree murder of the other parent, the law specifically prohibits visitation with the children until they are of a suitable age to assent. Similarly, but to a less serious degree, in making custody and visitation determinations the court will consider crimes that would cause one to question the fitness of a parent. These types of crimes would obviously include any violent crime convictions which could call into question whether the children would be in danger around a parent who has shown themselves to resort to violence when faced with conflict. In addition, drug and alcohol abuse offenses would call into question a parent&#

The Questions that Lawyers and Mediators aren't asking but should: Let's talk about Pronouns

I recently had the opportunity to train with two of the most prominent mediators in Massachusetts: John Fiske and Diane Neumann . Each time they run a training, John and Diane share what they think is the most important question for a client to answer to have an effective mediation. John says that he thought the most important question is "What do I want?" But then he will tell you, with a knowing smile, that Diane disagreed with him and she would say that the most important question for a client to answer is "Who am I?" I agree with Diane. The best lawyers and mediators ask their clients not just about what they want, but also deep questions about the clients' identity, goals, and values in order to help the clients resolve conflict in the most effective way possible. Despite knowing this, we often fail to ask clients the simplest questions when we first meet them or have them fill out an intake. We fail to give them an opportunity to answer the question “W