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How does my divorce or divorce proceeding affect my tax filing?

From the perspective of the IRS

Divorce and Taxes

Your marital status is determined by the status of the marriage on the last day of the taxable year.  In other words, if you are not divorced by December 31, 2018 then in the eyes of the IRS, you will still need to file as married either jointly or separately.  Naturally there are certain benefits to filing jointly, however, this may be difficult or impossible given the associated acrimony of the relationship during the divorce.  If you and your soon to be former spouse can come together for the purpose of your tax filing, such will raise another issue should you expect a tax refund.  The distribution of the refund should be easily resolved since you were both were able to work together to file jointly and enjoy the resulting tax benefit.

The only way that you would be able to file as “single” is if at the end of the year your divorce is finalized.  Some states recognize legal separation and even in those states the IRS would require a decree, order, or judgment for “separate maintenance” which would allow you to file as single.  Unfortunately, Florida is not one of those states.

To be clear, if your divorce was finalized on or before December 31, then you may file as single.

What do I do about Alimony and/or Child Support?

When you are preparing your tax return you will need to report receipt of either or both Alimony and/or Child support.

If you are receiving Alimony, it is considered as income to you and you will need to report is as such.  If you are paying alimony, you may take a deduction for the alimony payments.

Child support is different from alimony in that it is not considered income for the spouse receiving the child support.  Remember that child support payments are for the benefit of the child or children.  Child support is neither taxable as income nor is it deductible for the payor.

Can I receive the tax benefit of for our children (dependent exemption)?

In most cases, the dependent exemption is available to the parent that has the majority time-sharing and overnight stays with that parent.  If the child/children stay with you 183 or more nights, then you should be able to benefit from the dependent exemption.


Contact our team of professionals for the assistance and peace of mind that you need and deserve.  We can provide assistance if you are ready to or have questions about filing for divorce, or all other family law related matter.  Please contact Widerman Malek today at 321-255-2332.  You may also email or with your questions.