Divorce typically brings about considerable change, and you may find that your life is full of major transitions in the immediate aftermath of your split. Your living situation, your time with your children and your daily schedule are just a few of the things your divorce may impact, but it is also important that you consider just how splitting from your spouse will affect your taxes.
Once your divorce becomes official, there are several important things to note about how your new marital status will factor in when it comes time to file your taxes. If you are getting ready to file for the first time since divorce, know that:
Your marital status on Dec. 31 is your filing status
If your divorce became final prior to Dec. 31, you are officially single in the eyes of Uncle Sam. If, however, you were working your way through divorce, but it has not yet become final, you will need to file as a married person.
Changing your name ASAP is important
If you plan to change your name after your divorce, make sure to request a new card from the U.S. Social Security Administration as soon as you can to prevent unnecessary processing delays. The name you use to file your taxes must match the name Social Security has on record for you; otherwise, it can lead to considerable delays and complications.
You must decide who will claim shared children
Once you divorce, you and your former partner must decide which one of you is going to claim on your taxes any children you share. You cannot both claim the same child, but if one parent is noncustodial, he or she can typically still claim a child on taxes, provided that he or she secures the written consent of the custodial parent.
In summary, significant life transitions can lead to significant tax changes, so do your homework ahead of time to avoid unnecessary delays or other potential problems down the line.