How Does Divorce Effect My Taxes?

Date Posted:March 14, 2016 | Categories:

How divorce effect taxes


This is one of the most frequent questions the Dublin, Ohio, divorce attorneys with Edward F. Whipps & Associates hear. Specific answers depend on each client’s circumstances, but we are happy to share the following basic information regarding how divorce affects taxes. Knowing generally what to expect will help spouses start planning as soon as possible to avoid financial shocks and hardships.


  • You must notify the IRS and Ohio Department of Taxation of your name change and change in filing status if you previously filed jointly with your spouse and shared a last name. Claiming single filing status or head of household status will change your automatic deduction from gross adjusted income. Ensuring the tax agencies know you have legally changed your name will prevent misdirected or blocked returns and audits.
  • If you have a job, file a new W-4 with your employer to adjust how much money gets withheld from each paycheck.
  • Notify the Social Security Administration of your divorce. Or, if you do not participate in Social Security because you are enrolled in a pension program like the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, notify your retirement plan. Getting divorced will affect your benefits status in both the short and long term.
  • After the divorce, you can only claim household expenses like mortgage payments that you actually make.
  • You can deduct alimony payments that you make as expenses if you meet certain requirements regarding how the spousal support payments are ordered under the divorce decree.
  • You must report alimony payment that you receive as income.
  • Child support payments you make cannot be deducted as child care expenses.
  • Child support payments you receive do not need to be reported as income.
  • Only the parent with whom a child has lived for the most number of days during the tax year can claim that child as dependent for tax purposes.
  • Either parent who pays a medical bill for a child can deduct that particular payment as a medical expense. Ask your divorce lawyer or tax preparer about how best to report health insurance premiums paid on behalf of the child.
  • Receiving a home or financial assets via divorce is not considered a capital gain, but the owner of the property does become responsible for paying regular levies like an annual real estate property tax or taxes on later sales of stocks.
  • Consult with a knowledgeable Central Ohio divorce attorney to determine how best to handle private retirement accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s. Complicated rules apply both to the division of such assets and to the taxation of the funds when they are cashed out or transferred. You may be able to avoid paying taxes on retirement transfers if you take the right precautions.
  • Beginning with the 2015 tax year, all the information shared above applies to divorces of sax-sex spouse in Ohio.

Edward F. Whipps & Associates can answer all your unique questions regarding how a divorce will affect your taxes. Schedule a consultation online or call (614) 461-6006 to make an appointment. Ending a marriage is tough enough emotionally. Do not let lack of tax information lead you into making financial mistakes.