Tax Tips for Couples Going Through a Connecticut Divorce
Westport Divorce Lawyer
Where will my children go on Thanksgiving? Who is keeping our home? Who will pay for private school? Making the decision to file for divorce will have a lasting impact on you, your ex-spouse, your children, and your family dynamic. While most divorced couples are immediately concerned about their children and their financial status, there are other, less obvious, impacts that divorce will inevitably have. Understanding the changes to your taxation status, for example, is something to consider when filing for divorce. Following these simple tips in anticipation of divorce will help you to understand the impact a divorce will have on your taxes and things you can do to try to maintain some of your benefits within the bounds of the law.
Understanding Connecticut Tax Basics
Dissolution of marriage in Connecticut is governed by state law, under Chapter 815(j) of the Connecticut General Statutes. Taxation matters are, however, governed by the Internal Revenue Service, a federal entity that governs taxation considerations regardless of the state in which the taxes are being filed. Being married provides a taxation benefit come tax season, and it is important to understand what you may gain or lose when your marital status changes.
Your marital status is determined by your marital status on December 31 of the tax year. For example, if your marriage was dissolved in October 2014, you cannot state that you were married on your taxation forms, even though you may have been married for the majority of the year. This fact alone may give couples a reason to take pause before filing for divorce--the tax benefits of marriage can be substantial and it is worth considering looking at the calendar before rushing to get a final decree.
Tax fraud is a serious offense. The Internal Revenue Service periodically posts guides to assist in proper tax filings. The 2014 Return Guide for Divorced or Separated Individuals can be viewed here. This guide aims to explain how to determine your status (married, unmarried), who is permitted by law to claim dependent children and receive the associated tax benefits, and also explains the ins and outs of asset and property division and how that may affect tax returns as well (this generally becomes an issue as ex-spouses attempt to determine who gets what in terms of stocks, pensions, IRAs, real property, and other tangible and intangible forms of property and then have to determine how this should be reflected on their taxes).
Filing taxes can be complicated. Even if you do not intend to misrepresent your marital status or misrepresent who has primary custody of your children, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Take the time to sit down with your ex-spouse and your respective attorneys to understand what the implications are of filing for divorce, particularly if children are involved; the primary custodial parent may receive benefits the other parent simply will not. You may desire to have these exemptions offset by receiving additional spousal support, or coming upon some other arrangement to balance financial interests. Remember, everything can be negotiated. The more time you put in thinking of these matters before the divorce is finalized, the less likely it is that things will come up that will inevitably delay finalizing the divorce.
What Happens When Children Are Involved: Exemptions
The presence of children can make a divorce even more emotional and draining. Custody disputes, uncomfortable transitions, and difficult adjustments all make this a difficult time for everyone involved. Fortunately, taking the opportunity to understand what impact your children will have on your taxes post-divorce is something you can anticipate and figure out before it becomes an issue. With dependent children (those under the age of 18), a person can reap a significant tax benefit by claiming the child or children on their taxes. Only one party can take this benefit post-divorce when filing individual and not joint tax returns. The primary custodial parent will generally receive the exemption, but settlement agreements addressing the issue of exemptions (splitting it, or offsetting the amount by providing financial support in other ways) are very common in divorces involving children.
Westport, Connecticut Divorce Attorney
Hiring a knowledgeable Connecticut divorce attorney will ensure that you are in full compliance with federal law and that you receiving all of the taxation exemptions and benefits you are entitled to. Richard H. Raphael will work with you, your ex-spouse, and your ex-spouse’s attorney to help you arrive at an amicable resolution without significant court involvement.Attorney Raphael understands how emotionally and financially burdensome going through a divorce is, and will ensure your confidentiality, finances, and long-term resolution are his top priority. If you or anyone you know is filing or thinking of filing for a divorce, contact the Westport office at 203-226-6168 or fill out the online contact form today to learn more about your legal rights in a divorce.