For many, the tax season is already up on us – the filing deadline is April 18 – but before it completely consumes the rest of us up, the Tulsa divorce lawyers of Fry & Elder wish to give you a few pointers on how you can better manage the challenge of filing your taxes if you are going through a divorce.
Know you filing status
How you file your taxes this year will be based on what your marital status was on Dec. 31, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. If your ex and you were divorced by this time then you will file for separate returns. However, if you two were just separated at this time and had not yet formally divorced, you do have the option of filing a joint return, which you might want to consider. There are benefits though that come with filing as the head of the household – such as being put into a more forgiving tax bracket and also receiving a larger standard deduction.
Understand the exemptions for dependents
If your child has lived with you for the greater duration of the past year than with your ex, you can claim him or her as a dependent on this year’s tax return, as you are deemed the child’s custodial parent. Non-custodial parents can only claim their children as dependents if the custodial parent signs a waiver notifying the courts that he or she will not claim custodial parent status. Whichever parent does claim a qualifying child as a dependent on their tax return will be able to reduce their 2016 taxable income by $4,050. The amount was $4,000 in 2015.
Factoring in medical expenses
If you are the parent who has paid your child’s medical expenses after the divorce, those expenses can be included in your medical expense deduction. This is true regardless of whether or not your ex is the custodial parent and has claimed a dependency exemption.
In regards to the sale of a house, typically the law will allow you to avoid tax on the first $250,000 gain of your primary home, permitted you have lived there for at least two of the past five years. Couples who are still married and file jointly can exclude up to $500,000.
Why a team of knowledgeable Tulsa divorce lawyers can help you
Going through a divorce is complicated enough, factoring all of the tax innuendos compounds the process even more. Fortunately, the Tulsa divorce lawyers at Fry & Elder are well versed in the most complex family law matters. The firm has achieved in elite national reputation, as evidence by it being named to the U.S. News & World Report’s exclusive list of Best Law Firms from 2014-2016.
Robert G “Hap” Fry is AV-rated divorce attorney, who was recognized by the leading legal publication Best Lawyers® as its Lawyer of the Year for Family Law in Tulsa for 2016. Additionally, Fry is one of only 19 attorneys in the state of Oklahoma who is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Fry & Elder attorneys James R. Elder, M. Shane Henry and Aaron D. Bundy also are each AV-rated trial lawyers, with Henry, Bundy and T. Luke Barteaux also being recognized as Super Lawyers® Rising Stars™. Whether you have a family law, criminal law, immigration law or personal injury law issue, contact Fry & Elder today to speak with a proven Tulsa trial lawyer.