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Filing Tax Returns During A Pending Divorce

In my practice, I frequently confront the question of filing tax returns during a pending divorce, whether they should file an individual or joint return and what they should do with the refund. The other issue is whether the parties should file an individual or joint return.


Filing tax returns during a pending divorce depends on the situation. First, in the vast majority of divorces, there are restraining orders prohibiting the parties from disposing of assets and possibly even filing tax returns in the absence of a court order or mutual agreement. Therefore, going off on one’s own, filing an individual tax return and keeping the refund could be grounds for contempt.


Second, the refund or liability from the filing of the return could be an asset or liability to be allocated in the divorce. Taking a refund and spending it could expose one to losing a more valued asset that the court may award the spouse in the divorce to offset the value of the refund. Taking on a liability alone could expose one to being personally liable to the government. If there are not enough assets in the divorce, that spouse could have little recourse for taking on such a debt.


To learn more, read my articles on related topics: health insurance affects child support in Ohio, Ohio military divorce, forcing a spouse into a divorce in Ohio, minimum child support in Ohio, assigned income for Ohio child support, retirement benefits in Ohio divorces, IRS definition of Ohio spousal support, Ohio spousal support calculation, and Ohio child support.


The best practice is usually to have a tax professional determine whether individual or joint tax returns have the best advantage and filing accordingly, while splitting refunds and liabilities associated with the returns. This results in a wash in the divorce, leaving the court and parties to focus on the assets and liabilities already present in the divorce. Because people often receive refunds, this method could also evenly distribute cash to parties who have already spent a great deal of money managing separate households and paying for the costs of the divorce.


Attorney Gigiano is a Medina family law attorney in Wadsworth, Ohio. If you have questions about this or other questions you need answered by an experienced Wooster family law attorney near Orrville or an Akron family law attorney near Barberton, please call Attorney Daniel F. Gigiano at 330-336-3330. As a result of his hard work and dedication, Daniel Gigiano’s reviews in numerous websites are well-received, and his work is documented in several articles and links.