Thursday, January 3, 2013

January starts the divorce season

Many clients wait until after the holidays to file their divorce.  I was online and came across this story about the subject on NBC news.

I can say from experience that this is true.  I have observed that the main two reasons people put off their divorce is holidays and the taxes.  Understanding why people want to wait through the holidays is easy enough, but mostly seems to focus on making the holiday season better for the children.

A couple's tax status is determined on December 31st.  So if you are married on 12/31, you can file married or married but separate.  If you're married for all of 2012, for example, and then get divorced on or before December 31, 2012, you cannot file married, you'll be filing single (or maybe head of household).

With that being the case, many of my clients have me holding their uncontested divorce until the first week of January, so the couple can file jointly one last time.  In this situation, the parties need to make sure that the joint tax refund is addressed in the couple's settlement agreement (ie, the parties agree to file joint federal and state income taxes and split the refund (or deficiency, if applicable) equally, with each party taking 50%).  Anticipating this "future asset" is important as to avoid any post-dissolution disagreements.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to contact me for more information.

Gerald W. Linnenbringer, Missouri Uncontested Divorce Attorney

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