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Law Offices of John A. Guthrie - Family Law Attorney

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Tax changes after a divorce

When California couples get a divorce, their taxes will change including a shift from filing as married to filing as single or head of household. If the divorce happened at any time during the year including the last day of the year, then they are no longer considered married during that year for tax purposes. An annulment means that it will be necessary to file amended returns since the couple will no longer be considered to have been married in those years.

Only one parent, usually the custodial parent, can claim the dependent exemption after a divorce. If the noncustodial parent wants to claim this exemption, that parent must include Form 8332 with that year’s tax filing.

Alimony is taxable for the person receiving it and tax-deductible for the person paying it. However, if it is not mentioned in the divorce or separation agreement, it will not be considered alimony. Child support is also not alimony and is neither tax-deductible nor taxable. Additional tax breaks that only go to one person include the child tax credit and a mortgage interest deduction if one person got the house. If the couple’s taxes were particularly complicated, a person may want to work with a professional to file taxes in the first year after the divorce to make sure there are no errors.

Financial security is an important issue in a divorce. Many people struggle financially after they get a divorce, and the division of property obtained during the marriage may be important to a person’s financial stability. For a community property state like California, most assets and debts acquired after marriage are considered shared property. This means that if one person has not contributed to a retirement account and one has, the retirement account might still be split equally between the two.

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