Divorce and Taxes: Marital Status

divorce attorney Jill Duffy

By Jill A. Duffy

Attorney, Cordell & Cordell

In the past, it is likely that you and your former wife have filed joint taxes (married filing jointly).

This year, things may have to change.

If your divorce was finalized on or before Dec. 31, 2010, you will have to change your tax filing status.

If your divorce was completed in 2010, no matter which month, you must now file a single or head of household federal tax return, unless you remarried in 2010. You should file as single, unless you qualify to file as a head of household.

In order to qualify as a head of household you must not be married, be responsible for more than half of the costs of keeping up your home for the year, and have a “qualifying person” live with you. A qualifying person can be a child or relative.

If your divorce is still pending, you and your spouse can decide to file jointly or married filing separately. You cannot file as single in 2010 if your divorce is not yet final, or was finalized at the beginning of 2011.

This information is general in nature and should not be construed as tax advice. You should work with your attorney or tax professional to determine the tax advantages that will work best for your situation.

Read all the articles in our Divorce and Taxes series:


Jill A. Duffy is an Associate Attorney in the Troy, Mich., office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan. Ms. Duffy received her BA in Psychology and Spanish and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oakland University. She received her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude.  

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