Am I Responsible For My Ex’s Tax Obligations That Were Incurred During Our Marriage?

divorce lawyer laura langenburgQuestion:

We have been divorced for several months, but my ex-wife is trying to get me to pay for her bill with the IRS due to a mistake on her 2010 tax return reporting when we both filed individually.

Am I responsible for my ex-spouse’s tax obligations that were incurred during the marriage, but resulted from an obligation of her separately filed taxes?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Michigan divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

I would refer you to your Judgment of Divorce. In general, division of assets and debts are part of the property division in a divorce.

Once that property division is entered by the court it cannot be altered unless under specific circumstances, such as fraud, duress or perhaps mental incapacity. In your situation it appears that none of these exceptions are present.

Your divorce decree may address issues of tax obligations and who is responsible for them. Your judgment should specifically identify marital debts that each party is required to pay.

Additionally, the judgment probably contains an additional clause that requires that each party pay any other debts that are not specifically identified and that are held in their own name.

Thus, if these provisions are in your judgment, this tax debt would appear to belong to your former spouse. Your ex-wife may argue that this debt was not contemplated in the divorce, and that the proceeds she received from this tax return were used for marital expenses, and therefore the debt should be shared by the parties.

However, unless already addressed in your judgment, she will have to file a motion with the court to request this relief.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Ann Arbor Divorce Lawyer Laura D. Langenburg, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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