Tax-related changes to be aware of after getting divorced

The divorce process can cause lots of changes for formerly married adults in Texas. These changes can involve last names, financial accounts and living situations. The divorce process can also modify how you prepare and file your taxes.

Your filing status

Before getting too far into your taxes, you’ll need to enter your filing status. Your past filing status, including married filing separately or jointly, might not be available depending on when a court finalized your recent divorce.

Your filing status options depend on the status of your divorce as of December 31 of the previous year. Separated but not divorced couples can typically choose either married filing jointly or separately. However, these options aren’t available if a court finalized your divorce on or before December 31 of the last year.

It’s also possible to qualify as the head of household. However, you must meet the following tax law criteria:

  • You paid over half of your home’s upkeep expenses.
  • If you’re still married, your spouse hasn’t lived in your house during the final six months of the tax year you file.
  • A qualifying person lives with you.

How children affect your taxes

If you and your former spouse have children together, they will also affect your taxes. The person who is the child’s custodial parent can typically claim credits, including the American Opportunity Tax Credit, earned income and dependent-related credits. If your children split their time evenly between your home and your ex’s, this can complicate matters.

Not everyone wants to or understands how to self-prepare their taxes, especially after getting divorced. Having a tax professional help you prepare and file everything correctly could be wise.