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Divorce could result in substantial tax consequences

As many readers in New Jersey and elsewhere understand, separating from a spouse can be very difficult and stressful. When a couple files for divorce, there are many family and personal issues that must be dealt with. On top of that, there are also several legal issues that need to be addressed. An issue many people would rather not deal with, regardless of marital status, is paying their taxes. Recently divorced couples may be forced to rethink and evaluate their tax returns, and anticipate how the effects of the divorce may affect their filing.

A recent article offered tips for how to avoid higher taxes after a divorce. One tip it suggested was that it is important for anyone divorced in 2012 to make sure their names on their tax return match their name registered with the Social Security Administration. Those who have returned to using their maiden name should contact the SSA to inform them of the change. In some cases, if the names do not match, a taxpayer may end up facing higher taxes or a lower refund.

Another good tip to follow is to pick the correct federal filing status, that is, whether a person was single or married on December 31, 2012. This selection is the starting point for a number of other filing choices, such as whether or not to file as head of household, or married filing jointly or separately.

Divorce causes big changes in people's lives. Sometimes those changes are not always obvious, especially those that are related to legal matters, such as the filing of taxes. An experienced family law attorney understands the divorce process and can help answer questions a newly divorced person may have.

Source: Forbes, "Taxes And Divorce: 6 Tips For Women," Kerry Hannon, March 7, 2013

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