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How to file your taxes after divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2022 | Divorce

After your first year of divorce in Texas, you may wonder how your taxes will change. Your taxes could go up, down or stay the same, depending on your unique situation and income bracket.

Child tax credits

Only the custodial parent can claim the child tax credit on their taxes. It’s important that you let the other parent know because if they file their taxes first and unknowingly claim the child tax credit, the IRS may reject your form when you attempt to file. If you have 50/50 custody, then the IRS considers the parent who has the higher adjusted gross income as the custodial parent. You could ask the other parent if they’re willing to allow you to claim the child tax credit. They would need to sign IRS Form 8332, which would waive their right to claim their child as their dependent.

Filing status

Choose your filing status based on what your status is by December 31. If you are separated by December 31, then you may file as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.” You typically get the most tax benefits by filing jointly. This is something you’ll have to agree on with your spouse to ensure the IRS accepts your return.

If your divorce is official by December 31, then you must file as either single or head of household, depending on which matches your situation. There are criteria you must meet to file as head of household. A qualifying person must have lived in your home for more than half of the year, and you must have paid more than half of the home’s expenses.


In the past, alimony was deductible, but it no longer is. If you receive alimony, you don’t need to report it as your income.

Typically, you will receive the greatest tax benefits when you’re going through a divorce from filing jointly for as long as you qualify to do so. Once your divorce is final by the end of the year, you will need to file as a single or head of household.