Though tax season seems to be far away, for Illinois couples going through a divorce it may be wise to get a head start on thinking about taxes. It may seem to be a relatively simple task to check single instead of married on a tax return. However, there are many other financial issues that occur during divorce that couples should consider before filing.
One issue that divorced spouses should be aware of is that, if their marriage isn't officially finalized by the end of the year, they are considered to be married for that year. This is true, even if they've submitted the paperwork before the end of the year and are simply waiting for the official decree. This means that couples who have officially separated may still be filing a joint tax return even though they are living apart.
However, if spouses have separated during the first half of the tax year and their children have been living with one parent for more than six months, , the custodial parent might be allowed to claim the favorable head of household status and be eligible for more deductions. Other conditions apply, so check out the specifics with a trusted, knowledgeable counselor.
Another issue which divorcing couples might face is who gets to claim the children for the tax exemptions. Typically, this tax exemption is given to the spouse who has child custody for the greater period of time; however, for those couples with equal custody, the problem may be a bit more complicated. Instead, couples may have to decide how the exemption will be handled by signing a written declaration.
Divorce can be a complicated process, even without considering taxes. For many Illinois couples who are ready to move on, these perceived set-backs can seem frustrating. However, by confronting these issues head-on at the outset, those who have divorced can move more quickly to their new life and less time worrying about paying for the old one.
Source: Daily Finance, "Don't Let Divorce Destroy You at Tax Time," Dan Caplinger, July 23, 2012