Because of the recession, 2009 saw a large decrease in the number of divorces in Georgia and throughout the United States. However, many divorce attorneys are now remarking that divorce rates may have returned to their normal highs in 2010 as the country lifted itself out of the Great Recession. As more couples decide to file for divorce, it is important to be prepared for tax season as a newly single individual.
Pay careful attention to the calendar. If you got a divorce before April 18th but after January 1st in 2011, you must still file as married on your 2010 taxes. However, you must file as single if your divorce was final in December of 2010 – even if the tax break for filing as married seems enticing.
With regard to child custody issues, remember that alimony will lower the amount that you owe in taxes, while child support will have no influence. For this reason, it may be beneficial to try to have at least a portion of child support classified as alimony.
With children in joint custody, remember that only one parent may claim the children as dependents on their taxes. In the event that children spend 50 percent of their time with each parent, the parents must come to a deal regarding who will claim the children as dependents. While some parents with multiple children each claim an equal amount of dependents, other parents switch back and forth between tax years in order to gain an equal tax benefit over time.
Regardless of what you decide to do, it is important to understand the IRS tax laws and familiarize yourself with how they are applied to divorcing or recently divorced couples.
Source: TIME, “Divorce and Taxes: Five Things You Need to Know,” Kelly Phillips ERB, 6 April 2011