Divorce and taxes -- sometimes a messy affair

Working through a divorce will likely bring up a lot of issues, and it is just part of the process for a majority of couples. One issue not always considered has to do with how taxes should be filed before a divorce is finalized. To keep things simple and reduce taxes owed, many couples in New York may choose to file jointly, but is that always the best decision?

With tax season coming to a close, and many couples still deciding how to proceed with their tax filings, those still working through the divorce process will want to consider how that filing could affect their near future. Both men and women can fall victim to a spouse's financial improprieties. In a joint filing, even if problems are created due information provided by one spouse, both can be held responsible by the Internal Revenue Service.

When it comes to marital debts, it is possible to assign responsibility to one spouse or the other in a divorce settlement. This may -- or may not -- help fight against collectors demanding payments for joint accounts, including taxes. Along with assigning specific debts in a divorce settlement, each spouse may want to consider filing a separate tax return. This can help ensure spouses are only held accountable for any mistakes made or debts owed on their personal filings.

There are many aspects of divorce that couples in New York and across the country may not think about right away. How a tax filing can affect each spouse after divorce is just one of them. This issue, and numerous others, tend to make divorce a messy affair, but with legal guidance, it is possible to get through this process achieving a fair and balanced settlement that protects each party's personal interests.

Source: Forbes, "Divorcing Women: Don't Fall Victim To Your Husband's Tax Shenanigans", Jeff Landers, April 1, 2015

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