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Tax considerations for newly divorced parents

Divorced parents in Texas who are filing their tax returns for the first time after their divorce decree has been issued may be confused about the process. Before filling out a tax form, a single parent may want to consider some of the most important ways that their filing status and other matters might have changed.

The first tax consideration for a single parent is whether or not to file as head of household. A single parent should file as head of household if they were unmarried on Dec. 31, 2014, their children live with them for at least six months of year and they earn 50 percent of their household income. Head of household status usually produces a more favorable result than filing as single does.

Another tax consideration for single parents is whether or not they can claim their children as dependents. Because only one parent is allowed to do this for income tax purposes, divorced parents sometimes come to an accord on this issue as part of the final divorce agreement. If divorced parents have two children, they could each agree to claim one child on their tax returns. However, a parent must have had a child living with them for six months or longer and provide for their support in order to claim the child as a dependent.

During a divorce, parents may be able to agree about these and other important tax issues. If they can be worked out as part of the overall settlement, uncomfortable confrontations may be avoided later on. A family law attorney can assist a divorcing parent in reaching an agreement about these and other financial matters that often prove to be important divorce legal issues.

Source: Forbes Magazine, "8 Things Single Moms And Dads Need To Know About Taxes", Emma Johnson, Jan. 26, 2015

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