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How divorce can affect your tax filing and financial situation

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce is a significant life event that affects your financial situation and tax filing.

Understanding these implications can help you make informed decisions during and after the divorce process.

Filing status changes

One of divorce’s most immediate tax consequences is a change in your filing status. As a married person, you likely filed jointly. However, after divorce, your filing status will typically switch to either “Single” or “Head of Household,” depending on your circumstances. Choosing the right one is important because your filing status impacts your tax rates, deductions and credits.


Payments for alimony are no longer tax-deductible for the paying spouse and are not part of the gross income for the receiving spouse.

Property division and capital gains

Dividing property during divorce may lead to capital gains tax implications. The transfer of assets between spouses as part of the divorce settlement is generally tax-free. However, when you eventually sell these assets, you might face capital gains taxes based on the value when you acquired them and their current value. Understanding the tax basis of these assets is necessary for managing potential tax liabilities down the road.

Dependency exemptions and child tax credits

Divorce impacts the eligibility for claiming dependency exemptions and child-related tax credits. Generally, the custodial parent claims the child as a dependent, allowing them to benefit from child-related tax breaks like the Child Tax Credit. However, parents may also agree to alternate claiming of the child as a dependent.

Retirement accounts and qualified domestic relations orders

If the court divides retirement accounts during divorce, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order may be necessary. This legal document outlines how to split retirement benefits between the spouses. Follow the QDRO guidelines to avoid early withdrawal penalties and taxes on the transferred funds.

Divorce has far-reaching financial implications that extend to your tax situation. Consulting a financial advisor or tax professional provides valuable insights tailored to your situation and helps ensure your financial stability.

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