As a new year begins and the 2020 tax deadline looms nearer, newly divorced individuals may wonder how their recent change in marital status might impact their filing. There are many questions West Virginia residents may wonder when filing their taxes during divorce proceedings or after their marriage ends. Here are a few things to keep in mind when filing taxes for the first time after a divorce.
- Selecting the correct marital status: Those who separated in 2020 may still be considered married according to the IRS. Unless a court order grants a divorce in the 2020 year, an individual is considered “married.” Those who split on or before Dec. 31, and have official paperwork to that effect, are no longer married according to the agency.
- Whether to file jointly or separately: Married couples can opt to file taxes separately, and this is often the case for those who are only technically considered married. However, if the relationship is amicable, there could be some benefits to filing together; for example, being able to check the other party’s taxes to ensure all credits are used and there are no omissions.
- Claiming children on taxes: The custodial parent gets to claim children on his or taxes. This can become contentious in 50/50 custodial agreements, so make sure this detail is clear if such a custody arrangement is being discussed.
It is a good idea to discuss issues that involve income, children, or anything else that could come up on taxes in advance of filing, ideally when negotiating divorce terms. This is just one of many often-forgotten topics that should be discussed in a divorce. To avoid missing these important issues and prolonging conflict, it is a good idea to work with a West Virginia family lawyer at every stage.